Friday, April 24, 2015

Bobby Fisher / Harry Murphy

If you're looking for information about a chess player you spelled his name wrong

In 1992 I joined the Prospect Park track club.  Back then, I only had one thing in mind.I heard that being a member of a local running club could help get you into the New York City Marathon.( that turned out to be true for me in 1994 but that's not what I'm talking about today.) I wasn't interested in meeting people to run with or making friends.  I just wanted to make sure I would get into the Marathon.

So, I ran my first New York Road Runners club race in February 1993.  At this point I don't really remember any details about the race.  Except a couple hours after I got home my phone rang.  I had an extended conversation with the person on the other end about the race.  When I hung up my wife asked me if that was a family member?  No, it was the Vice President of the club I just joined... Some guy named Bobby Fisher.  He really cared about how I did, he knew what was my first race and he wanted to make sure I had a good time.  Not a speedy time, what really mattered to him was that I enjoyed myself..  I suddenly realized that I had to get more involved with this club.  I just moved into a new neighborhood and these were the friends I wanted to make.

I just googled Harry's wall and I found my own blog post
I went to the next membership meeting.  It was in the ceramics classroom in a local high school.  Everybody was sitting on dirty tables.  But that wasn't a big deal.  Apparently, this was the first time the club met after it's President had passed away.  I never met Harry Murphy, but in my whole life I never met so many people who were personally affected by one person.  People were in tears, 30 or 50 people were discussing together whether or not the club should go on without him.  I didn't involve myself in this decision but I knew I was observing something beautiful.  I watched people decide that they needed to honor this man to continue his work.

How can I not by a red shirt and run for this club now?

Well, Bobby died last fall.  I'm told on one of the last days he was conscious he said that I must be pissed at him because he never visited me in the hospital.  No, I was never pissed.  And I got to tell him that today.  Because his ashes are buried within the roots of the tree was planted in his honor, right behind a spot called Harry's Wall in Prospect Park.
Thanks Nicoletta

Harry, I never met you but I'm glad the club continued in your honor.  Bobby, I know you eventually became President of the Prospect Park Track Club but when I met you you were Vice President, and am very proud to hold that title now.

You know, there are statues and plaques all over Prospect Park.  Maybe one day someone will realize that this tree was dedicated to Bobby Fisher and then want to know who he was and find this blog.  This a lot of people out there who quietly made the lives of other people better.  Harry and Bobby were two of them and am glad I knew one of them.

I hope to be remembered like Harry and Robert

I have the digital version of this photograph only because it was hanging on the wall at Bobbie's memorial.  It was there because it was on his desk

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