Transcript of Charles Adler’s monologue inspired by the life of David Leitch and the conversation with Paul Lapolice

Before we do anything else today I just want to say a few words about something that happened on this air yesterday that I won’t forget any time soon. I spoke to a man named Paul Lapolice. I can’t honestly say I know Paul Lapolice personally. I feel I know him because I paid so much attention to what he was doing as the head coach of the Blue Bombers. I watched him on the sidelines like any other tv viewer when the Bombers struggled more often than not. I watched a man who cared deeply who was frustrated deeply at the end of his rope deeply and then one day, his bosses cut the rope and he was gone. He has resurfaced on TV and does a very good job as an analyst.

But yesterday on this show he wasn’t analysing football. He was analysing life and telling us about what really matters in life and that’s character and that people of high character never stop fighting for themselves and for others. Who taught Paul Lapolice that? David Leitch turned out be the teacher of that oh so valuable lesson. David Leitch the 23 year old who died this week after having lived and died many times over the years physically and mentally and emotionally and David would have died biologically had it not been for the Blue Bombers. I don’t want to talk about the cruelty imposed on young people by Spina Bifida. I want to talk about the goodness imposed on people like Alex Brink and Terrence Edwards and Justin Goltz and Paul Lapolice who spent time over the years with David Leitch keeping his spirits going and giving him a reason to live.

Even though most people will think about the story as the strong football heroes helping the weak physically disabled young man, about what they gave to him, the real story is about what David Leitch gave these athletes, and their coach. While they were giving him a reason to live, he was giving them a reason to believe in real wins and real losses. Real wins in life aren’t recorded on a scoreboard at a football stadium. Real wins are when people help other people to deliver the best of themselves. And the best part of any human being including an athlete isn’t in his throwing arm, his catching hand, his powerful legs or his ability to tackle man who is moving swiftly on that gridiron like a speeding locomotive. The best part of any human being is that part called character, where you tackle your insecurities, your anxieties, your deepest fears, and you wrestle them to the ground, character where you run for a touchdown every time you touch someone in the deepest part of their soul making them want to keep breathing, and doing ,and smiling and conquering their disappointments their disabilities.

David Leitch’s father never saw the son he sired. David Leitch’s mother saw him and didn’t like what she saw and abandoned him. David Leitch’s grandmother beat on him over and over again. David Leitch took a blade to himself and wanted to bleed out and get out of the coffin on wheels he was riding around in. That’s how it felt until a father figure like Paul Lapolice refused to abandon him, instead he engaged him and inspired him and gave him brothers to help do the same, Alex Brink, Justin Goltz, Terrence Edwards and other members of the Blue and Gold.

Why won’t I forget the conversation with Paul Lapolice. Because until yesterday morning the name Paul Lapolice in my brain represented losing coach. David Leitch’s life tells me Paul Lapolice is no loser. He’s a winner where it matters. David Leitch gave Paul Lapolice and his athletes and this broadcaster far more than we could give him. He gave us a living definition of what it means to be alive and to stay alive for as long as you can and to have a purpose to your life. A life with no meaning is a coffin. David Leitch may have been confined to a wheel chair. But his heart wasn’t confined by it. His soul wasn’t confined by it. His imagination wasn’t confined by it and his spirit was unleashed by the power of belief in something larger. For him it was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. I know there are some people who confine their imaginations. They feel the Blue Bombers are just a sports team and Paul Lapolice is just a coach. David Leitch knew and now we know that just isn’t close to the God’s honest truth. The team is made up of real men, and some of them are of high character whether they play for the team or not, whether they have more or fewer points on the scoreboard. David Leitch scored every day he was able to be at practise or at the game, and the father figure who never abandoned him and never would Paul Lapolice scored with me yesterday and I’ll bet he scored with you in ways that are far more meaningful than any football game.

The game of life is ten thousand times more precious than any one football game. David Leitch found that out from Paul Lapolice, and he discovered that inside David Leitch. Paul is much more than a coach and David was much more than kid beaten up by life in a wheelchair. Thanks again Lapolice for coming on this show to teach us about the meaning of life. Thanks again David Leitch for teaching Paul Lapolice what it means to be a human being. Rest in Peace David, knowing the rest of us miss you and love you and will follow your path. We will never stop fighting.

Charles Adler Monologue: Going Local! (abridged version)

Good Morning I’m Charles Adler

30 years ago I started my new job in this very same building at Polo Park. C J O B wasn’t the tenant. It was a different radio station. We played tunes lots of them, light rock and less talk unless I was on the AIR…I was never a less talk kind of guy. Fast forward to 6 years later and I am on the move to Calgary. Why? Because I wanted to do talk radio. And there was only one talk radio job in Winnipeg and it was the venerable Peter Warren at CJOB. So I couldn’t stay in the town that had become my home until I was invited to do that job. Well Peter chose to retire in BC. He made that choice ten years after I left Winnipeg and by this point had worked in Calgary and Tampa and Boston and Toronto and so the crew that managed CJOB when Peter chose to hang ‘em up, flew to Toronto to offer me the only job I wanted in the city I was proud to call home. And so in September of 1998, 15 years ago, I came back to the Peg to sit in front of this coveted microphone. 7 years later, the President of Corus Radio in Toronto recruited me to do a national show on the Corus Network, to roll it out on Corus stations across the country. And while that had some appeal, it meant the most special part of radio went missing for my listeners and for me, the ability to touch you every day on what matters to you most.

There were days of course when the events outside Winnipeg mattered most. When world economies are collapsing and big bombs are going off and terrorists are flying airplanes into buildings, naturally we care most about the things that are thousands and thousands of kilometres beyond the perimeter, Portage and Main, The Forks, Polo Park. But thankfully for civilization those are only some days. On most days we care about our own backyard. Our own neighborhood. Winnipeg is my neighborhood no different than yours. So for eight years I was able to live in my neighborhood but couldn’t really communicate with my neighborhood in the most meaningful way possible. Corporations spend serious dollars on research asking questions of their audiences and of those people who aren’t even part of the audience but are potential listeners, prospects as they say in Sales. Well the audiences in every single community where was Corus was broadcasting including Winnipeg told our researchers that the RADIO that mattered most to them was the RADIO that focused like a laser on local. And so our various stations decided that rather than having a national show, they would have local throughout the day and evening. And Winnipeg audiences were no different than the rest and when it came to specific times and specific shows, here in Winnipeg the audience wanted Hal Anderson in the breakfast show and the person in your head right now who had left eight years earlier. And on this first school day of the year for many, that’s the Coles notes version of why you’re hearing change on CJOB today.

Now I don’t want to spend much more time on this show talking about the show. I’d rather, and I know you would rather have me do the show. But I want to get something off my chest. If anyone is concerned that the passing of eight years has softened me, has made me less inclined to offer an opinion, or to challenge conventional opinion, have no fear. My time slots have changed. Not my DNA. Last week on this air the premier of this province said he had some fear about me returning to this slot. He and I have never been on the same page politically and likely never will be. But his job is to do his job and mine is do mine. My job is NOT to burnish his reputation or to polish his trophy. If the public decides it’s time for change on BROADWAY just as they decided it was time for a little change here at POLO PARK, the premier will just have to live with that. If you make change your enemy it will defeat you. But I want you to know that I don’t get up every morning thinking what can I do to help defeat the government of the day? I get up every morning asking myself what can we do today to give Winnipeg the best possible RADIO CONVERSATION ? What I think about every moment in front of this microphone is not Greg Selinger or Brian Pallister. It’s you. It’s all about you. You are my listener, my customer.

As many of you know by now, I am a graduate of Adler’s Tailor Shop. Yes I went to some of those better known schools of higher learning in Montreal and Calgary and Boston. But the things in life that matter most I learned from my father the tailor, doing my homework in his store, doing chores for him in his store, and they including loading the boiler, delivering clothes and sewing up a lot of pants and skirts jackets, and pressing a lot of pants and skirts and jackets. That’s what tailors do and that’s what their kids do. What they do is satisfy their customers to keep them coming back for more. My dad taught me that people want to know that they matter. They live in a world where they are treated like machines. They know they work for people who would to replace them with machines. And so my dad said don’t you ever treat a customer like they’re not important. Nothing is more important than their needs, their desires, and their number one desire is to be treated with respect. And I want you to know folks that respect never meant to my dad agreeing with everything another person says. When you are always agreeing with everyone you meet, someone isn’t doing any thinking. So I won’t agree with everything you or any other guest on this show has to say. And you won’t agree with everything I say.

Our customer will get a quality product with real conversation. If I am not keeping it real, I know you’ll talk back to me on phone, on email, on facebook on twitter and even in person. Winnipeggers are not shy. You were not shy about telling us what you wanted and who you wanted. Thank you for your loyalty and support and for choosing CJOB and for choosing me. I hope that on this day and every day we can reward your choice by giving you the best radio this community has to offer, information, inspiration, and a few laughs along the way.