Saturday, June 07, 2008

My (short) Mike rememberance

Today is the memorial service for my good friend Mike. I want to share with you what I wrote to be included in the scrapbook that Ruthanna put together.


Mike Lorenzo was a good friend. His passing has helped me to realize to not take for granted the time I have with the people I love. I always figured I’d have forever to sit around and shoot the bull with Mike about dogs, beer, motorcycles, his business, politics and life in general. I’ll miss those conversations.

I got to know Mike and Karen about 10 years ago. I was new to the sport of lure coursing with my adopted Greyhounds and they were the Yankees with the awesome running dogs. I met Karen first at a field trial in south Georgia, she lived up to the reputation as the brassy, loud Yankee that I had heard about. It didn’t take long though for me to realize that she was one of the special people in the sport. I met Mike soon after and realized what a wonderful couple these two were. It turned out that even though they were quite competitive, they were humble when victorious and gracious in defeat. I remember quite vividly the II in Virginia in 1999 when Kookie won from Open but tore a muscle during his final run. We forfeited him to their dog (I think it was Red) who ended up winning the breed. Karen and Mike were ecstatic and were effusive in their praise of us for what we did.

I became friends with Mike over the years as they would make the trip from New York down to Cartersville to go up against the competition we had. I was a relatively new lure operator and learned much from not only Mike’s advice but also just watching how he handled the situations when he was running the lure. We were of a like mind in how to handle the dogs that we were responsible for on the field. I always enjoyed our time after the trials when we could sit around with a beer and remember the runs and what we did right and wrong. I probably took away from that more than I’ll ever realize.

There was an II in Colorado, I believe it was 2003, when Ruthanna and I drove out with Cindy Owens. It was an extremely grueling trip, driving straight through from Atlanta to Colorado Springs in a little more than 24 hours. Luckily I got to spend a lot of time with Mike that weekend. The two of us watched the Best in II runs from the top of the motorhome, critiquing the runs. Once again it was a great opportunity to share and learn.

The next year Ruthanna and I drove to Iowa for the II and stayed with Mike and Karen in the motorhome. That was a great time since we were able to spend a lot of time relaxing and socializing in the evenings.

2005 was the apex for us with Mike and Karen at the II. That’s the year that Sweeney, Mike and Karen’s wedding gift to Ruthanna and I won Best in II. I remember the run like it was yesterday and how amazed I was at the run he put in. Even knowing how Sweeney ran that day, I was floored when it was announced that Sweeney had won Best in International Invitational! We were so lucky to have been able to share that wonderful moment with our friends. Ruthanna and I will be forever indebted to Mike and Karen for that special gift! I don’t think that any of us, Mike, Karen, Ruthanna or I, have ever come down from that high!

Amazingly, though we had been close friends for so many years, we had never had the opportunity to visit each others homes. Finally in 2007, I was asked to judge a trial in Connecticut. On the way up, Ruthanna and I arranged to stop by their home and have dinner before continuing up to the hotel. We had an awesome time and a great dinner with them that evening.

The following weekend we were able to return the hospitality (at least I hope we did) and have Mike and Karen stay with us while she was judging the SEGC trial in Moreland, GA. We all had a great time even though we were quite exhausted! Mike was a godsend that weekend for SEGC as I was judging the IG Nationals close by and was not able to help with the SEGC trial. Mike was Johnny on the spot and did yeoman’s work to keep the trial moving.

That was just the kind of guy that Mike was. He always came to trials prepared to lend a hand or a machine, was always working to be innovative with equipment. He was always willing to take time to teach up and coming lure operators. He always took the time to just hang out and shoot the bull.

1 comment:

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Nice walk down memory lane. I didn't know Sweeney was a wedding gift. Very cool!