Weekly Paul Zimmerman/Nothing Is Impossible Benefit Update
Mike Pereira, the league's vice president of officiating, phoned to make a tremendous offer for the Dr. Z benefit. "I've got a football used in the Super Bowl this year, signed by Mike Tomlin and Dan Rooney. I want to donate it to the auction,'' he said. Whoa. Cool stuff. Much appreciated. "Well,'' he said, "Paul's written a lot of great things over the years, and he gave me a good suggestion. A couple of years ago, he was on me for the referee saying when he announced a false-start penalty, 'Prior to the snap.' He'd say, 'Of course a false start is prior to the snap!' So I told the refs they didn't have to say it any more, and now they don't.''
So Pereira's football, with an accompanying certificate of authenticity, will be up for bid at the auction; I expect to have it online within two weeks, and at the Zim benefit May 18, for the highest bid by, I assume, a Steeler fan who will have the absolute perfect gift he/she could never get anywhere else.
Mark Mulvoy, the former SI managing editor who lorded over Zim and sparred with him on a few occasions, called with a more than generous donation. "I heard someone asked him where he got the name 'Dr. Z,' '' Mulvoy said. "He said, 'Mark Mulvoy.' ''
Those were the days. Mulvoy gave Zim his ID. Mulvoy gave me my chance.
One other item I'm announcing this week: Two baseball fans will get something they'll never forget: Two tickets to a Red Sox-Yankees game (on one of the following dates: June 9, 10, 11, or Aug. 21, 22, 23), plus an insider's tour of the ballpark, plus a trip to the field for pregame batting practice. Fan of the column (and a Falcons fan who thinks Thomas Dimitroff is only slightly less important to the planet than Barack Obama) Corey Bowdre, Red Sox group sales director, is donating this ultimate-insider's gift for one of this year's episodes of World War III. (Minimum bid: $1,000.)
Updating those who've missed the news: Outstanding pro football writer Paul Zimmerman suffered three strokes in late November and is currently unable to read, write or speak coherently. We're trying to jump-start his therapy and road back to writing one day -- we hope -- by raising money to allow him to undergo some aggressive therapy in Michigan and New Jersey. We've lined up Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Jets coach Rex Ryan to star at a fundraising pro football 2009 preview dinner/roundtable/auction May 18 (open bar 6:15 p.m., dinner 7 p.m.) at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, N.J.
Tickets are $225 apiece, or $1,500 for a table of eight, and are available by sending a check, payable to "Dr. Z/Nothing is Impossible Foundation'' to:
Dr. Z/Nothing is Impossible Foundation
All tickets are tax-deductible. Donations of any amount may be sent to that address as well. For further information, please e-mail me, in the box that comes with this column, or Barbara Neibart, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all the Zim fans out there, here's a blog update from Linda, his saint of a wife: "There is a certain peace that has come over our household. A certain rhythm, making all the difficulties easier. We've been ironing out all the logistics, managing all the new equipment. It took a few weeks to get used to the stair-gliders ... Paul is starting to say more than 'when.' He has actually said 'well' several times this week. And he blurted "get out" to Aaron, his physical therapist. Aaron was prodding him, making sure he was OK on the recumbent cycle. Aaron was so excited he called his wife, Paul's occupational therapist. We're still dizzy with therapy, a constant motion of activity. Paul loves it, but I have to admit when he realized it was Friday he sighed with relief! Thanks to Jill and Jim Steeg for the two gigantic boxes of workout clothes!! Paul won best dressed at Kessler [Rehabilitation Center] this week!!''
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