Lew, Legacy

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I’ve never cared much for legacy.

What I mean is, people sometimes ask, “What do you hope to be remembered for?” and my response—uttered with complete sincerity—is, “I don’t care.”

Which is true. I don’t care. Because, ultimately, we all die and fade away, lost to history and memory and, in a sense, existence. I mean, think about it. Besides George Washington and Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and a handful of others, how many folks from the 1700s can you name? And, even in naming them, you don’t actually remember them. I mean, none of us know what John Adams’ breath smelled like. Or if he preferred tomatoes over potatoes. He’s a name and a list of accomplishments. I guess that’s a legacy. But he doesn’t particularly care. He’s dead.

As always, I digress.

The above photo is of a young Michael J. Lewis, well before he covered sports for a handful of newspapers, well before he started up one of my two or three favorite blogs. He was just a short, geeky kid on Long Island, dreaming of one day marrying Cindy Crawford and covering the New York Rangers.

We met at the University of Delaware. I actually hired Mike for the assistant sports editor gig at the student newspaper, The Review. He was a freshman, I was a senior. And, boy, what a character. Bubbly, awkward, big Jet fan, wearer of a denim jacket, excellent writer and reporter. Everyone called him “Lew,” and as the years passed and he rose up the ranks, people still called him “Lew.” Why, during the twice-weekly story meetings, ideas would be listed on a chalkboard and rated either HIGH, MEDIUM or LEW. Of course, in his honor.

Fast forward to 2013. I’m back at Delaware, speaking to a class. Beforehand, I sneak up to the offices of The Review. Everything is different from my last visit—decor, technology, room design. Everything. Then I walk to the rear. There’s a couch. Some pillows. A chalkboard. The stories are ranked. A couple are high. A few are medium.

And a bunch are Lew.

That’s legacy.

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