|I only got on base once; thereafter,|
my team nickname was "H.P."
("Hit by Pitch.")
To the Sea Cliff Elementary School kids, who always picked me last when forming kickball teams ("You take him; we took Nanette");
To Mr. Keller, the Little League coach, who kept me on the roster as "pinch-hitter," telling me to be ready to bat at at a moment's notice--and I'm still waiting for that moment;
To Boot Camp Company Commander Thomas Mikus, who punished me for my inability to do pushups by ordering me to do more pushups;
To my superiors and peers in the Navy, who, for 13 years, assigned me minimal scores at physical fitness tests, deriding me as a lazy SOB, who launched whispering campaigns accusing me of doing "girl" sit-ups;
Now Hear This:
Be it known that I, Frank Mullen III, am the product of a great athletic lineage. My grandfather, Frank Aloysius Mullen, competed on swimming and diving teams of the City College of New York and the New York Athletic Club. Early 20th-century sports editors of metropolitan newspapers tried to outdo each other in vividly glorifying the accomplishments of the Pride of New York Waters.
|The man who started it all, in whose|
footsteps I humbly follow.
And, in 1920, it came to pass that Frank Aloysius Mullen represented the United States in the Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.
His heritage is my heritage, his blood, mine, pulsing through my veins with the same vigor as it did his. It is Olympic blood, the blood of a champion whose accomplishments were born in New York harbors and burnished in Belgian pools.
Hear me now, and heed me well: I am an Olympian. You insult me, you insult the spirit of the Olympics.
Have I made myself clear?