His heart reportedly operates at only 9 percent of its capacity, but somehow, Glen Gondrezick managed to stand at a podium for nearly an hour Friday and talk about his situation.
The former UNLV basketball star, who played on the Rebels’ first Final Four team in 1977, needs a heart transplant. On Friday night, a couple of hundred friends and supporters came out to the Orleans Arena to help Gondrezick with his mounting medical bills. The final amount raised was still being tabulated Tuesday, but it is expected to be somewhere in the mid-to-high five figures.
“I had no idea I was up there that long,” Gondrezick said of his speech during “Gondo Night.”
Actually, the initial plan was for Gondrezick to speak for a couple of minutes, then get back to his Summerlin home. His immune system is so weak that his doctors want to limit his contact with people for fear his body might contract germs.
Instead, he shook hands, accepted hugs from well-wishers and said what he wanted to say.
“I wanted people to have a good time and not feel sorry for me,” Gondrezick said. “It was awesome to walk into the arena and see everything.”
Today marks Day 90 in Gondrezick’s wait for a new heart since he originally was placed at the top of the list at UCLA Medical Center. He said he has learned to deal with the mental anguish.
“I’ve learned to put it out of my mind,” he said. “I just try to get the most out of each day.”
• OTB MEMORIES — The news that off-track betting will survive in New York City after the state agreed to take over the financially inept operation brought to mind a story about the early days of the operation.
It was in September 1972, at the Avenue J branch in Brooklyn. It was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and while the horses were running at Belmont Park, the OTB was closed in observance of the holiday.
One irate horseplayer, after finding out the OTB was closed, went around the corner, picked up a brick, tied a note to it and flung it through the plate-glass window, shattering it. The note read, “Horses aren’t Jewish.”
• TAME DROUGHT — Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory Sunday in the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway snapped Junior’s personal 76-race losing streak in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but the pain his fans had felt during the drought is nothing compared to those who root for the Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908. The Cardinals’ last NFL title came in 1947. The Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup in 1961, and the Clippers, who have been in the NBA since 1970 when they were the original Buffalo Braves, never have won the title. The farthest the Clippers have gotten in the playoffs was the second round.
• OFF DAY FOR HOOLIGANS — Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel, after 157 fans were arrested during Germany’s Euro 2008 win over Poland last week: “157 — or as soccer people call it, ‘a slow day.’ “
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP REVIEW-JOURNAL