A funny thing happened on the way to presenting a tribute video to John McCarthy last week at the Club Industry Show in Chicago. Actually, it was a couple of funny things.
We had the video all queued up and ready to go Thursday morning at McCormick Place. At least we thought we did. After I said a few words about the Lifetime Achievement Award and about John and our time in Boston earlier this summer, I signaled to our guy in the back of the room to push play.
The video was great. It's the audio part that wasn't working.
It turns out the laptop was on mute. Hey, it happens. Eddie Tock came up to me later and told me he didn't know how many times something went haywire in his presentations. So it's good to know I wasn't the first—or the last—that that's happened to.
After a few silent and uncomfortable moments on stage, I went back to the microphone and said something like, "So what you see here is a preview…" That might have been the biggest laugh I've ever received (at least, not at my expense). I'm just thankful it lightened the mood.
Michael Scott Scudder asked me later if I had any jokes ready to go. I didn't, but one joke might have started, "A rabbi and a priest walk into a bar…" but that might have hit too close to home, because, as you may know, John was a priest.
The hero of the day, I found out later, was Al Noshirvani of Motionsoft. When the video wasn't working, he got up from his seat, went to the back of the room and unmuted the laptop. Yes, Al, I do owe you one for that save. Nicely done.
Here was the other funny thing about that video presentation. The delay allowed more people to see it. The reason I know that is because attendee after attendee who kept filing in to see keynote speaker Gerry O'Brion walked across the middle aisle into the video stream, so you could see the contours of their craniums zoom along at the bottom of the screen.
A big thanks goes out to everybody who sent in video tributes as well as our own Erin Manning, who did such a great job in putting the video together, which you can see at the top of this post with clear sound and nobody blocking the way. We added Roger Ralph's contribution in this extended version, and he brings up some good points about John that we didn't highlight in the profile, especially his prolific writings, his presiding over whether to let Bally into IHRSA (which was a contentious topic years ago) and the debate over a proposed name change for IHRSA. (Did you know IHRSA could have been Exercere? Check out one of Norm Cates' 250 Club Insider issues for that story.)
I'm humbled by the kind comments I received last week at the show. But the man who really made it all happen was John McCarthy. Just like he did at IHRSA, he brought the room together, and we all felt better about ourselves for it.