Sports fans in general, and the want-to-know-everything, love-to-debate-and-argue fanatics in particular, share a passion for numbers.
Heck, they create statistics just to strengthen their arguments. How else can you explain why anyone tracks wins above replacement?
Certain numbers resonate. A .300 hitter. A 1,000-yard rusher. A 20-point-per-game scorer. Those numbers define the standards by which fans measure success.
Then there are the numbers that measure greatness.
Sixty falls into that category.
When you gauge the number of home runs in a season or consider a round of golf epic, 60 comes to mind. When you say someone made a 60-yard run or a 60-yard catch, you expect it to be a tide-turning or exclamation point-adding moment. If someone scores 60 points in a game, they've proven to be unstoppable.
Anyway you look at it, 60 is a significant number.
It's historic. It's awe-inspiring. It's legendary.
Yet, when I think of 60, it resonates in different ways.
That number represents sacrifice and commitment, collaboration and compromise, passion and persistence.
It's the number that represents my parents.
Thursday, Jerry and Kathleen Schuckman celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Somehow, someway, they have survived all these years together and still smile at each other each day. They make each other laugh, agiatate each other to a degree and I'm sure frustrate each other more often than we see.
More than anything else, they love each other with a love that hasn't waned over 60 years.
They've raised six kids, 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, with more on the way. In that sense, their legacy is safe. Generations will be inundated with the catchy and clever sayings both used to teach us a variety of lessons.
Some of those adages annoyed me growing up, yet I find myself using them today. Each time I sarcastically look to my wife when she's hurt herself in a minor way and say, "it'll feel better when it quits hurting," I give a little tip of the cap to my mom.
It's funny how when she said it annoyed the heck out of me, yet I say it without thinking today.
There are plenty of quips my dad has been known to make that I use as well. Every time, I catch myself saying, "Oh, man, my dad says that."
It makes me smile. I hope I act, react and talk like him for the rest of my days and someone takes note of it along the way. I hope I continue to say things my mom taught me, too.
More than anything, I hope my wife and I survive being around each other long enough to come close to being married 60 years. We're approaching our seventh anniversary, so we have a long, long, long way to go.
Thankfully, we have a pretty good blueprint to follow.
The St. Louis Cardinals used a promotion where the catchphrase was "six is a serious number." I don't mind borrowing that phrase in this instance.
Sixty is a serious number.
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.