Happy Birthday, Sam!

Basketball on the far side

All the family and friends in Florence and California wish Sam has a great birthday this year!

It is incredible to think that just 17 years ago a little guy named Sam came into the world in 168th Street in Manhattan, just north of Harlem. Yet he is now going to school and playing basketball in Israel. Everyone is very proud!

In fact, it’s possible that Sam’s sports career began in Israel. When he was not yet 3 years old, he and his brother were in Tel Aviv with their parents, visiting some friends. One day they all went to a shopping center, where Sam saw a little two-wheeled scooter with a telescoping neck and handlebars.

Although these scooters quickly became very popular, neither Sam nor his parents had ever one like this before. Sam could not take his eyes off of it, so Papa bought it for him and carried it back to Florence on the airplane.

Sam rode his scooter in the house, on Calvin bikethe terrace, and especially at Campo di Marte playground, at every opportunity. And he developed such an incredible balance that just after his third birthday, he asked Papa to take the training wheels off his back… and he never put them back on.

And from there, Sam never looked back.  At night, he used to go to bed making up stories of flying his bike like an airplane all around town, above the Duomo, often landing at the Campo di Marte playground or back on the terrace outside his bedroom.

By the time he was five, Sam was so good that he always insisted on coming along on his bike when Papa went running, up the hills of San Domenico. He was not as comfortable going down the hill, however, especially down one part of via Camerata, which was very steep. So he always asked Papa to change places on that part.

They were quite a site, with Papa riding downhill on Sam’s little yellow bike, and Sam unning quickly after him. People would give them strange looks. “Is that little boy chasing a man who stole his bike?” they might have asked.  It was very funny.

From being such a good bike rider, Sam also became a strong runner, and then a good soccer player, and later basketball, with never any fear of trying something new.

So now that Sam is playing basketball in Israel, the question might be asked: Did it all start with a small scooter that Sam got on a vacation to Israel over 14 years ago?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAM!! We all miss you and hope to see you soon, and in the meantime are very proud of you.

coming at us


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