You’ve probably never met Colin Falla. Colin’s a five-year-old boy who lives just west of Boston, and like most kids his age, he likes swimming, riding his bike, playing sports, and building Legos. If you happened to run into him, you’d see him playing with his little sister in the snow or bombing down his local rail trail with his parents. What you wouldn’t see, however, is that Colin was born with Cystic Fibrosis. You also wouldn’t know that Colin is the grandson of the late Jack Falla.
My short conversation with Jack, and how my life has materially changed since that conversation, is well-documented. When Jack responded to my first email to the Yahoo backyard rink mailing list, I was in. My first rink was built that fall. Within two years, this website was born, and seven years later, I own a backyard rink company that built its 80th rink this year after being launched in 2011. To say Jack helped change the course of my life would not be an overstatement.
Jack’s book Home Iceinspired many to build their first backyard rink. The children who grew up with those rinks, many now in high school and college, learned to shovel and snowblow and toe drag and cross-over on those rinks. Their families gathered around those rinks, sipping drinks over fire pits, sharing laughs and making memories. All because of a backyard rink, which was built because of a Jack Falla book.
There are journalists for ESPN and Sports Illustrated and every major newspaper around who have their jobs because Jack taught them to “play hurt” during early-morning classes at Boston University. His unique teaching style and magnetic personality drew in students and spit out professionals, and the sports information world is a better place because of it.
And Jack isn’t the only Falla changing lives. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing his son Brian for several years. A selfless stay-at-home dad (and one heck of a writer in his own right), Brian is always quick to help out when asked. I’m honored that he’s agreed to write the foreword to my upcoming rink book. And when I was raising money for BeatNB last summer and the Boston Kidney Walk in the fall, Brian donated to both causes.
The Fallas, all of them, are damn good people who have given, and continue to give, so much of themselves to our backyard rink community and beyond. I’m asking for your help in giving a little back to them.
Inspired by her son’s optimism despite daily respiratory treatments, a specialized diet, and the ever-present risk of bacterial infections in his lungs, Colin’s mom Kim will be running her first half marathon on May 9th of this year. She is running on behalf of the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which raises money as part of its mission to support research and implementation of innovative and effective treatments for CF.
Kim’s fundraising page can be found here. If you’ve ever read one of Jack’s books, I’m asking you to donate. If you communicated with him on the Yahoo mailing list, please donate. If you ever sat in one of Jack’s classes, please donate. If you know Brian from the mailing list and have enjoyed his helpful, witty insight, please donate. The Fallas have done so much for so many, and it’s not always easy to find a way to give back to folks like that. But this is one very simple way that can have a very big impact.
Colin may not grow up to be a published author, or a university professor, or a backyard rink dad. But given the family history, we can be certain he’ll grow up to be an incredible and selfless human being. And I think we can all step up to help someone like that.