Albom shares lessons from Morrie

Danny Schoenbaechler

The line started from just outside the new athletics office and reached onto the Diddle Arena floor.

All the way down the baseline and past mid-court, the line formed quickly with eager fans.

Young, old and in between, the line was diverse, but sharing a common enjoyment.

They all wanted to meet Mitch Albom, the sportswriter, radio talk show host, television panelist and author.

Albom is a short, dark-haired man with a slight Northern accent. He may not be a hair over 5-foot-7-inches tall, but to this audience, his size didn’t match his stature as an inspirational author.

Albom had just walked off a podium in the middle of Diddle and delivered a message consistent with the theme from his books “Tuesdays With Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

Both of Albom’s books deal with how dying can help people find the meaning of life.

“One life touches another, who touches another, touches another and another touches the world,” Albom said.

He spent most of the speech explaining the story of “Tuesdays With Morrie” and how it gained fame, and telling the story of “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

Interspersed through the talk were philosophies and mottos that Albom had either learned from Morrie Schwartz, the title character from “Tuesdays With Morrie,” or learned in his own life.

“Listen to your heart, it will never lead you astray,” Albom said.

One of the themes Albom stressed was relationships with people who are dying.

After reading an excerpt from his new book, Albom explained the meaning of that particular section of the novel.

“Death ends a life, not a relationship,” Albom said.

Diddle was about half full with students, faculty and Albom fans.

Many of the students were required to attend for their Freshman Seminar classes, where reading “Tuesdays With Morrie” is required.

Many other teachers around campus gave extra credit to students who attended.

“I have to write a paragraph for class,” Winchester freshman Ashley Maines said. “He talked about relationships and life.”

Maines said she read “Tuesdays With Morrie” and was happy to hear Albom speak, besides doing it for class.

After the lecture, Albom greeted fans. Some people were quiet and appeared intimidated, while others took advantage of their chance to speak with someone they look up to.

A handful of autograph seekers told him about how his book had affected them. A few cried.

“We forget the people who made us who we are,” Albom said.

While he appeared to be simply explaining the topics of his books, he never went long without throwing in some special words.

In one short sentence Albom explained his basic belief on life.

“Giving makes me feel like I’m living,” he said.

Reach Danny Schoenbaechler at [email protected]