Saturday, February 20, 2010
Another Brother & a Strange Olympic Connection
I’ve written about my older brother Bryan and his blog here and featured my younger brother Kevin as a guest writer here but haven’t introduced my second-oldest brother Mark. He is every bit as crazy as the other two, it’s just that his zingers usually come in real life rather than in writing.
And when he’s being funny you definitely know it because he throws his head back and laughs. Really loudly. He’s one of those people who make you laugh just because he’s laughing, whether or not what he’s laughing about is at all funny.
Mark is a University of Michigan police officer and has a K-9 partner – his bomb sniffing dog Sampson. Mark is somewhere around 6’8” (I actually think he’s taller than that but at some point he stopped measuring himself), which would be intimidating enough in his uniform because his height combined with the thickness of his bulletproof vest makes him look like a wall coming at you. Add on his tough-looking (yet very sweet) dog as the ultimate kick-ass accessory and he appears to be some sort of law enforcement superhero.
My two other brothers and I respect Mark as a police officer, as a father to his great kids and as a person in general, but it’s important to remember we grew up with him and know all of the stupid stories that take the edge off his Rambo image. And we have the pictures to prove it. Specifically the infamous perm pictures.
(Bryan and Kevin would have lost all respect for me if I hadn’t mentioned Mark’s unfortunate perm.)
Anyway, before Mark was a police officer, he was in the Air Force and assigned to the President’s honor guard. You know the members of each branch of the military holding flags, standing at attention behind the President at important events? Yup, that’s what Mark did. We actually saw him on TV during Clinton’s first inauguration. Pretty cool stuff.
Because of Mark’s close proximity to the President, I’ve always imagined there are very few degrees of separation between myself and pretty much any world leader you can think of. After being terrorized by Mark as kids (he once chased me through the house holding a dead squirrel, yelling that he didn’t care if he got in trouble because it would SO be worth it to rub road kill on me) it’s nice to know there are SOME perks to sharing a bloodline with him.
Oh, and here’s another strange connection: apparently Mark knows the Olympic ice dancing team of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. Mark often takes his dog to train in different facilities so Sam can get used to clearing various large public areas and Belbin and Agosto used to train in the same facility. (Although, I’m pretty sure they were ice dancing and not sniffing for bombs.) What’s even more interesting is that Ben Agosto’s dog is Sam’s litter mate.
So, I may never get to meet Shaun White, but I can always say I'm related to the partner of an Olympic silver medalist’s dog’s brother. Check me out.
Update: Mark sent me a photo to remind me of another of his Olympic connections:
That's my brother on the left and that teeeeny little person standing on a chair at right? Bob Costas! (Who I will always love for this.)