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steele sports, johnnie phillips, dan gladden
Johnnie Phillips and Dan Gladden
It’s a small world
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

Every now and again, the world hits you with a subtle reminder that the world we live in is indeed smaller than it appears.

This past week at the Minnesota Newspaper Association convention and awards banquet, I had the pleasure of meeting Minnesota Twins broadcaster Dan Gladden.

While I was familiar with Gladden’s accomplishments as a Twin, one thing I was not aware of was his upbringing.

When the legendary Minnesota broadcaster mentioned his birthplace – Los Gatos, California – my jaw almost hit the floor.

Back in 1999, I was born in Los Gatos, and in my six years of living in Minnesota, I had never met anyone from my hometown – let alone anyone as recognizable as Gladden.

After having heard his story, I knew I had to introduce myself.

As a reporter, one would assume that I am quite comfortable in most conversational settings, as well as always knowledgeable about those I speak with.

In this instance, I was quite the opposite.

After asking Gladden if he was a former Los Gatos High School Wildcat, I was met with a “No, I was actually a Westmont Warrior.”

As a graduating member of Westmont’s class of 2017, I can assure you it was a low point in my journalistic career not being aware of someone who was easily my school’s most famous alumni.

While Gladden did not seem fazed by my ignorance of his background, I came to discover that he and I shared similar experiences in high school.

Both of us played baseball on the same high school field and commuted past our school farm on a daily basis.

In fact, Gladden went on to tell a story about a traumatizing day in many a Westmont High School Warrior’s career: “slaughter day.”

For the typical rural Minnesotan, the idea of a slaughtering day may not seem so out of the norm.

However, for the standard Westmont student that grew up in the shadows of the urban, densely populated city of San Jose, slaughtering day was anything but normal.

Gladden noted watching livestock be slaughtered in front of his own eyes and the pain of seeing the animals he and his friends raised being put down.

After sharing a good laugh about some old memories from our experiences back home, I came to realize just how crazy life can be sometimes when you least expect it.

What had begun as a busy day of learning from a star-studded cast of journalists ended as a trip down memory lane with one of Minnesota sports journalism’s most beloved figures.

This world never ceases to amaze me.

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