The phone rang in my Connecticut home late on the afternoon of Nov. 24, 1993, as my mother was in the midst of preparing a Thanksgiving feast for eight more people than we could possibly fit at our dinner table. I was charged with answering it and my 10-year-old brain relished the responsibility. My mother was simply expecting my father to be calling before he left work. Instead the voice on the other line was a different family member, my Uncle Ulys.
My mother’s brother had lived in California my entire life and while we hadn’t met in person, we still had a nice relationship over the phone. He knew I was a big sports guy so after the pleasantries he told me a quick yet influential story:
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