You’ve heard the phrase, “He’d give you the shirt off his back.” That’s what Bob Miller, the Hall of Fame television announcer for the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, did Monday night at the Glendora Country Club.
And that gesture ended up raising $3,000 for Sowing Seeds for Life, a regional food bank that feeds and offers services to some 6,000 needy people per month in the East San Gabriel Valley.
Miller, who doesn’t play golf, donated an entire day and night to the fourth annual Sowing Seeds for Life Celebrity Golf Tournament for Charity. He drove from his home in West Hills near Woodland Hills to Glendora in the morning to sign autographs and pose for pictures for more than an hour before play began.
Then he and Vicki Brown, the CEO and founder of Sowing Seeds for Life, greeted golfers out on the Glendora CC course.
But the most amazing thing, the topper of all toppers, was what he did during the live auction following the dinner portion of the event.
During a slight break in the fast-paced auction, Don Dirian of San Dimas walked up to Miller and offered him $3,000 for the Stanley Cup shirt he was wearing. Dirian, who is approximately Miller’s size, suggested, “Let’s trade shirts.”
Miller, not quite believing what he was hearing, asked: “You’ll donate $3,000 to trade shirts?”
Dirian said yes, and Miller, in front of a crowd of some 150 people, was suddenly shirtless. Wayne Gretzky was known as “The Great One.” Maybe Miller will now be known as “The Shirtless One,” or, simply, “Shirtless” Bob.
Miller put on Dirian’s shirt, and it fit nicely.
Only one problem remained, and that involved his wife.
“When I get home,” he said, “how do I explain to Judy why I’m wearing a different shirt than I was wearing when I left this morning?”
When Miller got home, he explained why he was wearing a different shirt. “And are those your pants?” retorted his wife.
Miller, the next day, said, “We had a pretty good laugh over the whole thing.”
And so had everyone at the Sowing Seeds golf tournament and dinner.
But the laughs were far from over.
Following the auction, there was a sensational-hour performance by award-winning sportscaster and world-renowned entertainer Roy Firestone.
Firestone, as he has done at some 2,000 corporate events worldwide over the years, sang, told jokes, did impersonations, showed sports bloopers and told a few heartwarming stories.
There were plenty of laughs, plus a few poignant moments. One involved Firestone’s first significant interview back in 1975, when he was working in South Florida. That was two years before coming to Los Angeles to go to work for KCBS Channel 2.
The interview was with Muhammad Ali and it took place at a nursing home.
“In one room all by himself was a 98-year-old man in a wheelchair,” Firestone said. “He just stared out the window and hadn’t talked to anyone for weeks.
“Ali went over to him and asked, ‘Do you know who I am?’ No answer. He repeated the question several times, still no answer. But when Ali started to walk away, the man turned toward him and said, ‘I know who you are. You’re the champ. You’re the greatest fighter who ever lived. I’ve dreamed my whole life that someday I would meet the great Joe Louis, and now I have.’
“There were several handlers with Ali and they started to go over to correct the man. But Ali stopped them. He told them, ‘You don’t take a man’s dignity away from him. He thinks he just met Joe Louis. Let him enjoy it.’ ”
Speaking of enjoying moments, the Sowing Seeds for Life tournament was full of them. Other celebrities there were Jim Harrick, who coached UCLA to its 11th national basketball championship in 1995, UCLA announcer Chris Roberts of Glendora, former Monrovia High, USC and Buffalo Bills football star Chris Hale, and Bill Dwyre of San Dimas, former sports editor of the Los Angeles Times and current sports columnist.