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Terry Pluto on Friendship and Race

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Terry Pluto writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and is one of my favorite sports writers.  He also has a column called Faith and You.  He is a Christian and often speaks about his faith at locations around Northeast Ohio.  

I just came across this article about his friendship with a person from a different race in an era when racial tensions were high.  He and his friend were classmates at Cleveland Benedictine High School.  This is one of the reasons this article piqued my interest.  My high school used to play Benedictine in football.  Pluto is about 8 years older than me but my school was playing his school at that time.   

This isn't a particularly profound article on race relations.  But it does illustrate what can happen when two people look beyond their differences and focus on the things that unite them as humans.  Sports only played a minor role in their friendship since they played different sports.  Music, honors classes, and personality played a far more significant role.  They had a friendship.  They talked about the stuff that made up their lives as teenagers: school, coaches, and girls.  Sometimes they talked about race.  Pluto remembers the lessons his friend, Wiley Pugh, taught him 50 years ago.  One of those lessons came from the way Pugh still could appreciate a coach who was hard on all his players.  The lesson is this... 

 "... look beyond the outside. Shut out some of the noise. Value what a person is down deep."  

It's a simple, yet profound lesson.  We might call that wisdom.  

Wiley Pugh, may you Rest in Peace.  And may your family continue to enjoy the memories you left for them, and the many life lessons that you imparted over your 58 years.  

Here's the article: Pluto's Tribute to His Friend

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