On Friday, after stepping off a plane from Minneapolis, where they’d spent 48 hours rooting for the Minnesota Twins in baseball’s Division Series, my father, Damian Slattery ’80, and his college buddy, Phil Kesaris ’80, drove seven hours from Baltimore to Clinton. They were coming to see my one home crew race of the season. It is Fallcoming Weekend, and my father also plans to play in today’s alumni soccer game. But as soon as I finished my race yesterday and got off the water, Dad and Phil hit the road again, racing five hours south to Yankee Stadium to continue cheering on the Twins. My father’s best friend, Bill Smith ’80, is not only a fellow Hamilton AD brother and former soccer teammate, but also the Twins’ general manager. “Uncle Billy” is the first person my father met on his first morning on campus in September 1976. They’ve talked almost every day since.
Hamilton isn’t just the college from which my father graduated; it is a part of who he is. His Hamilton friends, including my mother, Melissa Howard Slattery ’82 (yes, they got married in the Chapel), mean the world to him. The passion my father has for the Hill led him (and Phil) to drive back through the wee hours from the Bronx last night — just so Dad could play in another alumni game, a tradition started by the soccer team in the mid-1980s to honor teammates who’d died soon after graduating.
Today, along with 25 other soccer alums, my dad travels back in time. And he gets even closer to his glory days when legendary Coach Manfred von Schiller returns — with crisp apples and his joyous wife, Freida. On this glorious fall day, the fervor for Hamilton is everywhere.