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updated: 9/11/2012 10:11 AM

Turning 60 a good time to reflect on sports, life

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By Mike North
The Rebel Insider

When I turned 60 years old Monday, I started to think about the last six decades.

I thought of the 35 years with my wife, Be-Be, of our families, and being lucky enough to have good health.

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I started to reflect on what the world of sports has meant to me. Truthfully, sports has always been my salvation.

When I was doing poorly in school, I always had sports. When as a kid things weren't going well at home, I always had sports. From my first game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, to my first autograph from visiting outfielder Bill Virdon, nothing mattered more to me.

As a kid, I lived for playing or watching sports. It was 24/7 for me. I was lucky enough to have the best group of friends any kid could have -- guys by the name of Gooch, Ace, Kates, Korny, JM, Billy, Gels, RL, Johnny O, TB, Watts, and Chooch. We were like brothers, and all we did was play and talk sports. The field at Senn High School, where we hung out, always had something going on in the '60s and early '70s.

As I was watching the Bears score 41 points Sunday, I remember when they would be lucky to score 41 points in a month.

I dropped out of high school at 16 and started to work for the park district, and then was drafted. After serving my two years in the Army, I went back to work for the city.

I was married a couple of years when my wife and I decided to open a hot dog stand, and then two more. We met a ton of great people through our businesses.

Then the Score came along, and I have to tell you -- almost everything we have and the things we have been able to do not only for ourselves, but for others, has been largely because of the little engine that could on Belmont Avenue.

I always called the Score that name back then because we were barely a blip on the screen.

From people there like Danny Lee, the original owner of the station, to everyone I encountered at that place, I can say those were some really great days.

Between working in radio, TV, video, and now being a columnist, it's been a wonderful ride without any regrets.

My desire to win and succeed at everything has been a blessing, but also at times a curse. I sure don't feel 60, and definitely don't act it. I still have a good 10 to 15 years of creativity, and vision to keep me busy.

I will be making a big announcement in the next couple of weeks that I am excited to share with you.

I'm also going on six years being sober. Believe me, I loved the night life and had the time of my life. I know most people won't believe me, but I have started to mellow out a little.

Let me just say this: I want to thank everyone I have met, my friends, detractors, acquaintances, business people, and others. I still have people tell me to enjoy my 15 minutes, as I approach my 21st year in the media.

I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am smart enough to realize it. I had breakfast at the Peninsula last week with Jerry Reinsdorf and consider him a friend, as well as guys like the late Walter Payton, Jeremy Roenick, Gale Sayers, Doug Buffone and actor Dennis Farina.

I guess I have met hundreds of sports and entertainment people, but it's being a Chicagoan, a neighborhood guy, and having my wife Be-Be next to me that has made my life wonderful.

For my 60th birthday, I'm clearing my head, and going to enjoy my life. I still have lots to still do, and I'm going to sign off by saying don't let the run stop. Love you all!

P.S. Can't forget to mention two of my best pals, my dogs -- Licorice, now gone, and Lucky, very much alive.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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