On the Honeymooners, Jackie Gleason’s character, bus driver Ralph Kramden, was always working on a “big one,” some kind of deal that would take him and his wife out of their tiny apartment to bigger better things. Each plot wound its way through a show with big laughs, but the big deal ended up in failure. Yet, the show concluded with Kramden looking at  his wife in appreciation of just what he had.

 

Jackie Gleason, in reality, had a personality that overcame all kinds of shortcomings to achieve success. In Gleason’s case, his shortcomings were more a matter of overindulgences. Like other greats such as Babe Ruth, Gleason had over-the-top appetites. When I look at famous people who had such issues, I try not to think too hard on shortcomings because in most cases the person was much more than that. And sometimes what we read about them has been distorted.

 

I try not to let those kind of things define the person for myself. In another age, it might have been very different. Both Gleason and Babe Ruth might have experienced certainly difficulties that might be resolved today with some help that was not available when they were growing up. And in both cases I think they were generous men.

 

As a small business person, I have those moments like Ralph Kramden where I see one of my books that we are working on and think that this is the one–the big deal. Like Ralph Kramden I have high hopes that this one is going places! Success, rather than failure!

 

I am just launching three of my big deals for the first time on the Sporting Chance Press website. Two are books have been out for over year. One is called Pilgrimage by Patrick McCaskey and the other is The Brown and White, my fictional memoir.

 

Pilgrimage explores various Christian holy places popular with today’s trekkers and seekers. Awakened by modern fascination with places like the Way of Saint James, many athletes whose achievements are celebrated in this Sports and Faith book have made pilgrimages part of their faith journey. The Holy Land, Rome, Lourdes, Fatima, Assisi, and several other places of interest and their origins are examined. Author and a Chicago Bears Vice President, Patrick McCaskey, has peppered the book with his own poems and narratives on all things McCaskey.The popular author’s own literary and papal pilgrimages are here. McCaskey shares personal episodes that readers will find insightful, and touching. Pilgrimage shares stories of exemplary athletes and others who are successful in sports and life. These writings are often the product of the author’s efforts on behalf of Sports Faith International, an initiative that honors devout athletes and coaches.

 

Forty plus years in the making, The Brown and White is a fictionalized memoir that tells the story of Collin Callaghan’s freshman year at a Chicago Catholic High School. Collin is a white boy who is living in turbulent times in a changing city. He clings to his neighborhood and his family as he heads out each day with his classmates on the Brown and White, the ancient school bus driven by free-spirited Willie. Memorable characters abound as this story unfolds. Collin’s loveable family, especially his Irish Catholic policeman father and his Irish immigrant mother face life together. Collin and classmates blaze their own humorous and passionate trail through the late 1960s. A unique cast of terrific teachers are there to see the boys through. Laughs and life meet readers head on as they travel on the Brown and White.

 

The third book, or “big deal,” is Worthwhile Struggle, a new book at the printer right now by Patrick McCaskey. Worthwhile Struggle is the fourth book in the popular Sports and Faith Series. Each chapter is titled after one of the author’s 10 Commandments of Football, principles based on McCaskey’s life with the Chicago Bears, the Halas-McCaskey household, and his own distinctive sense of humor. Struggle is a theme that is clearly seen and understood in sports, which serves as a metaphor and lesson plan for life in the Series. Worthwhile Struggle includes stories of athletes and others who lead exemplary lives. Much of it comes from the personal experiences of the author who has been working for the Chicago Bears for over 40 years. McCaskey attended Catholic Schools, and he has been privileged to keep company with many outstanding people from all faiths – both on and off the field. At the end of each chapter, we include the life of a saint. This offering is an enhancement to our faith coverage for our readers. In addition, we have also included 10 quiz questions in each chapter to test our readers’ sports knowledge or their patience! We also have photos from international photographer Father Lawrence Lew in the book. We include a chapter of Biblical poems that McCaskey has read in churches in his home town of Lake Forest after Mass. Many poems have a humorous twist to them.