This past weekend, the news we all hoped would never come, did. One of the most recognizable and beloved TV personalities of all time, Alex Trebek, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.

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There have been many tributes to Alex, the game show host, but every once in a while you see one that showcases who the man really was. Proving what a small world this is, a friend of mine, Mark Wallengren, has his own Alex Trebek story.

I asked Mark yesterday if I could share this story, and he agreed. It's such a wonderful way to remember what a gracious man Alex Trebek was. He will be missed.


In Mark's words:

I remember Matty [Alex's son] was a natural. Good throwing arm, he could hit a ball well but when his dad was watching games or a practice from the stands, like so many parents do, he would shout out critiques. Many times it would adversely affect Matty's play and that worried John and me. We discussed how to approach the situation and what Alex's reaction might be. But Alex couldn't have been more gracious. What I discovered was that Alex, like all parents, just wanted to help. He wanted to be there for his son. He was openly receptive to our comments and then asked John and I if he could actually help coach our Devil Rays team. We all agreed that none of us would critique our own children. Alex worked with John's son, Sean or my son and so on. We were a scrappy group of misfits in a program at Toluca Lake Little League where dads, unlike the three of us, had been in the program for a few seasons and pretty much fixed the players draft. The three of us worked so hard with our kids that spring. We taught through encouragement, basic fundamentals and always kept it fun. Alex was a huge part of that and his son Matty exploded! We started as complete underdogs but week after week we scratched our way to the championship game.

Alex Trebek, Little League Dad.

He was just like any other parent: concerned about his child, yet acting like any other Little League parent. After my friend talked with him, Trebek ultimately decided that he wanted to be involved in helping his son's team win.