Everyone knows it ain’t over till it’s over. And for goodness sake, when you see a fork in the road, take it.
But what was Yogi Berra’s dating advice?
Turns out the late Hall of Fame catcher had some thoughts on that subject, too, according to his granddaughter, Lindsay Berra, one of the guest speakers at last week’s Great Conversations, the annual fundraising gala for Morris Arts.
Yogi had seen a magazine article by Lindsay about a handsome tennis star, and he suggested she should date him. Lindsay said she reminded her grandpa that this guy was used to dating swimsuit models.
“You got swimsuits,” Yogi shot back.
Lindsay, a national correspondent for MLB.com and trustee of the Yogi Berra Museum at Montclair State University, was among 30 guest speakers at Thursday’s $250-per-plate dinner.
Personalities from sports, science, business and the arts each had their own table, for conversing with clusters of patrons who chose that table.
Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin
Lindsay Berra predicted success for Derek Jeter if the retired Yankees captain succeeds in leading a consortium to buy the Florida Marlins.
“Derek obviously is a winner, and will surround himself with the right people,” she said. “I think he’s pretty even-tempered.
That went for Yogi, too, who won 13 championships as a player and coach.
Lindsay said there were no shades of grey for her grandfather, who died in 2015 at age 90.
“For him, everything was black and white,” she said of the Yankees and Mets legend.
Before becoming a sports journalist, Lindsay was a pretty fair athlete herself. She captained the boys hockey team at Livingston High School, and played varsity softball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She remains an avid cyclist and hiker.
Yogi gave her a practical sports tip: Don’t waste energy fuming over defeats.
“Grandpa always said, ‘If you lose, it’s because you didn’t play well enough to win. You might as well get over it,'” Lindsay recounted.
Another Great Conversations speaker is trying not to obsess about a possible loss of federal funding.
At least NJTV News Executive Producer Phil Alongi has a fallback plan. He is a tenor who sings in professional opera productions across the country.
“I used to sing in a band called Phillips Head,” Alongi explained. But he tired of shouting over noisy bar crowds at 2 am. Someone liked his strong voice and suggested opera.
He took some lessons, enjoyed himself (“you get to sing loud!”), and landed at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers. Now, he can belt out arias in multiple languages.
Which would seem to offer intriguing possibilities for NJTV’s next on-air pledge drive…
‘IT SUCKED ME IN’
Federal cutbacks also were on the minds of Morris Arts supporters who packed the Madison Hotel ballroom on Thursday. Year nine of Great Conversations was anticipated to net a record $170,000 for the Morristown-based art nonprofit.
That’s an especially big deal as President Trump is pushing Congress to eliminate funding for the arts, event Co-Chair Tara Skirzenski told the audience.
Skirzenski and Morris Arts Development Director Gina Moran work year-round to make Great Conversations a success, Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder said.
“It’s the best part of my job,” Moran said as the evening wound down.
Marcia Hunter, a retired development director for the Mayo Performing Arts Center, took her brother and sister-in-law to the gala.
“I think it’s important to support the arts. And it’s a nice concept,” said Hunter, whose table speaker was David R. Jones, a retired assistant managing editor of the New York Times.
Ashley Higginson, an attorney with Riker Danzig, sat at the table of guest speaker Anthony R. Slimowicz, executive vice president of the Crum & Forster Insurance Co.
She praised him for creating “a comfortable space for people to share, laugh, speak openly and honestly and just enjoy one another’s company.”
Higginson added that it’s “rare to feel amongst strangers that you have made a lot of new friends in one evening, and Morris Arts cultivated a beautiful group of people from this community.
“It sucked me in, and I want to find a million ways to get involved in Morristown and Morris County now! I look forward to going back.”