Last week we were at a family reunion in Ireland. We had a wonderful night with our relations. Nick had his picture taken with his 3rd cousin Gary Doherty. Gary is 5 months younger than Nick. Gary and Nick are both retired. During his career in the premier soccer league, Gary was called Doc or the Ginger Pele.
We first met Gary when the boys were 6 years old. In the past week I have pondered about the connections that we have with other people, and then the connections that they have with others that we don’t know.
There are a lot of people who know Nick and many many who know Gary. I wondered if there are some who know both Nick and Gary, excluding relations of course. I think that it would be fun to try and create a tread throughout the connections.
I guess that has already been tried for almost 90 years. First there were academics and later commercial enterprises looking into the idea. Facebook and other social media sites give us an immediate indication of this concept of six degrees of separation that connects us with other people around the world. Some people say that it is an urban myth, but it is mind boggling to think of. Are we really connected to anyone else on the planet with five or fewer people in between? Facebook and Twitter both have statistics that say their users have an average distance of less than 5 people.
I thought of the small group of young cousins who got to know each other 30 years ago, by kicking around a soccer ball in a field in rural County Donegal. Among that group, there is Gary, who has played professional soccer, my son Ryan, who is flying jets around the world and Nick, who gently brings out the best in all of us. It is hard to imagine all of the people, as a sampling, that these three men are connected to as ‘a friend of a friend.’ It definitely makes the world seem like a smaller place.
Who are you connected to? For example, I have had dinner with someone who had dinner with Prince Charles in his private residence. I skated in an ice show with Dorothy Hamill. Another friend of mine was at a luncheon at Buckingham Palace, meeting Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. These are just a few. I would love to hear of yours.
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