Dobel Street

RIP to our 'monster chaser'

I’ve spent most of the past two decades as a sportswriter and editor, using hyperbole to describe athletes … overusing — no, totally misusing — words like superstars, heroes, icons in stories about game-winning homers, touchdown runs, half-court shots.

Well, my oldest son, Louis, just graduated from middle school tonight with a report card that was more than respectable. It’s been, to say the least, a touch-and-go school year for my kid. So, for perhaps the first time in my writing career, I’m going to use the word “heroic” properly to describe the staff at Brownell Middle School in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Principal Michael Dib, Assistant Principal Chris Clark and their teaching staff are superstars for what they did for Louis and for so many other 6th, 7th and 8th graders throughout the years.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Because of you and some reinforcement at home, Louis still has a chance to fulfill his dreams and help make this cold, cruel world a warmer, better place.

Back in the old neighborhood, where there are more have-nots than haves, mostly schools that are overstuffed and understaffed, more brokenness and hopelessness, there was another tragedy this week.

Robert Murphy, who once promised me “to keep the monsters away from Fletcher Field” if I found a way to keep it clean and cut, put a bullet in his brain in a vacant lot not far from park.

There are people in this world who declare themselves “self-made” men, believe they alone are the reason they’re livin’ large rather than decomposing 6 feet underground like Robert Murphy is tonight.

I don’t buy it.

“There but for the grace of God go I.”

In my humble opinion, I think it’s up to all of us to make sure the Robert Murphys have the same chance my son does to contribute to the world, to make it a better place — to keep the monsters away.

To do otherwise, is a total waste. We freakin’ need each other, man. We just do.

I’m so sorry, Robert, that we couldn’t help you chase your own monsters away.