May 1 – Happy Birthday Matt Ossenfort

mattossenfortI’ve called him “Mattie O” since the first day I met him up on the four diamonds at the foot of Lindbergh Ave at a baseball practice for our Genium Publishing Wee Men’s Major baseball team. That was 1994. He was the kind of kid you liked instantly, a natural leader with a good sense of humor who got along easily with his peers and adults alike. The bonus was that Mattie O also had game. He could do just about everything you had to do to win baseball games. In fact as the years passed and I watched him progress through middle school and Amsterdam High, it became pretty clear that Matt was one of the best all-around athletes in his age group and he proved it time and again as a key member of the Ram’s varsity football, basketball and baseball squads.

It was probably five or six years after he graduated from AHS that I saw Matt again. We were both walking in the common area of the Riverfront Center. He was carrying one of those old foot thick computer printouts that folks who worked with computer data as part of their jobs needed to refer to before laptops and iPads came along. That’ when I learned he had graduated from my alma mater, Albany State University and that he was working for the New York State Senate. He had been given the assignment of managing George Amedore’s first successful campaign for the New York State Assembly.

It was a brief conversation. I asked about his Mom (Stephanie Boice) who was the long-time director of the AHS Marching Rams and we talked about his job with the State Senate and the campaign he was working on. I clearly remember how nice it felt to talk to an Amsterdam native of his generation who was fond of his hometown and sounded confident and upbeat about its future. What I didn’t realize at the time was how deeply involved Mattie O was about to get in that future…

If you would like to read the rest of my story about “Mattie O” it will be included in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. You can now reserve a copy of this book and by doing so, also qualify for a significant discount off its list price. You won’t be asked to pay for the book now and you’ll be notified as soon as it becomes available. You can reserve your copy now using this on-line order form.

I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty  people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.

The monthly newsletter is free. If you’d like to receive it, just make sure your name and e-mail address are included on this list.

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