Ben DiCola, a 1972 alumnus of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, recently published a book titled ‘Mom's Magnavox'. The book is an autobiographical account of DiCola's childhood and adolescence, centered around his love for baseball. The book also touches on topics such as the value of hard work, discipline, and perseverance, and the importance of face-to-face communication in a world increasingly dominated by technology.
About the Book
In an interview, DiCola discussed how his education at St. Thomas Aquinas shaped his life and career. He stated that without Aquinas, he would never have attended college or become a published writer and public speaker. DiCola initially struggled with grades and was enrolled in courses that would prepare him for a trade, but he eventually transferred to a college prep curriculum. It was through speech and drama courses at Aquinas that his passion for writing and storytelling was ignited, and he credits his success to the perseverance he developed during his time at the school.
When asked about his time at Aquinas, DiCola shared, “Had I attended another school, I would never have written all the stories I have about Aquinas, nor would my path have crossed so many great kids, parents, families, and friends. Thanks to my Dad's vision and faith, things have fallen into place pretty nicely, I'd have to say!”
Although DiCola does not see a direct connection between Mom's Magnavox and St. Thomas Aquinas, he believes that the book can be inspirational to readers. He hopes that the book will encourage people to value family life and hard work and to communicate more face-to-face. DiCola also touches on baseball's connection to civil rights, and he hopes that readers will recognize the importance of peaceful communication and personal responsibility in creating a harmonious society.
“The book has many memorable moments. My 4-way heart bypass surgery was surely a life-changing moment, as was the sudden passing of my baseball idol, Roberto Clemente,” DiCola stated. “…collecting baseball cards, playing catch in the yard, attending ball games in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Most of all the influence and direction provided by my parents.”Once a Knight, Always A Knight
DiCola’s time at STA has left a significant mark on his life. He mentions a few favorite memories from his school days, such as playing Cord Elum, the sheriff in the musical 'Oklahoma' during his senior year.
“Most of my memories are the athletic ones and came years after I graduated in 1972,” he says. “Winning the state football championship in 1984 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus has to be right up there. More recently, winning the regional title game in boys' basketball and qualifying for the state tournament in 2014.”
He adds that there have been many great Aquinas athletes and people he has written about and photographed over the years such as Mike Ranalli, Steve Barr, Athena Welsh, Celena McCoury, Anthony Moeglin, Jacob Paul, Katie Hiestand, Austin Hill, each creating a lasting memory.
Advice for Current and Future Knights
When asked about advice for Aquinas Knights participating in athletics, DiCola has a lot to offer.
“I believe perseverance and persistence pay off most in the long run. Never give up on your personal dreams. At the same time, playing team sports requires you to be selfless. You have to be just as passionate about the success of your teammates as you do your own success… [You must prioritize] hitting the books and pursuing your educational goals. Sports can help you get there, as you learn the value of working together for one common goal, living in the trenches with your teammates and friends, sacrificing your own personal goals for the good of the team, and always, always remembering that the name on the front of your jersey 'AQUINAS' is far more important than your name or number is worn on the back!”
Get your copy of Mom's Magnavox today!