Like many others, Paul Kadri loves sports. In this interview, he reflects on the sports he likes to watch and the sports he likes to play. Whether as a child or adult, sports have always been and always will be important to Paul Kadri.
A Gathering of Experts: So where did your love of sports begin?
Paul Kadri: I did not get my love for sports from my parents as some children do. When he was young, my father was a runner, which is something that didn’t interest me. My love of sports came from rooting for local teams. I grew up just outside Detroit, so I was a big fan of the Detroit teams.
A Gathering of Experts: Did you have one sport or team in particular that you enjoyed most?
Paul Kadri: As a kid it was definitely baseball. The Detroit Tigers were my team, and in the 1970s they had a pretty good team. I played Little League on the local field. Unfortunately, the Little League season was very short, and there were no other opportunities to play like kids have now.
A Gathering of Experts: Did you go to Tiger Stadium to watch games?
Paul Kadri: Yes. The company my dad worked for had tickets for great seats. I remember going as if it were yesterday. I brought my mitt and was quite sure I would get a foul ball, but I never did.
A Gathering of Experts: You told me earlier about an exciting opportunity you had. Could you share it?
Paul Kadri: For my birthday, I was given a gift to go play golf with the Detroit Tigers from when I grew up in Las Vegas. The event took place right after 9/11. Many people were afraid to fly, but nothing was going to stop me. They still held the event, and I had the chance to play golf and spend a lot of time with all the Tiger greats. I actually came in first place and there’s a jersey signed by everyone on my wall in my house.
A Gathering of Experts: Are the Tigers still your favorite team?
Paul Kadri: All the Detroit teams are still my favorites. At some point in my life I did switch to loving hockey more than baseball. The Detroit Red Wings are my favorite team.
A Gathering of Experts: Do you like the Detroit Lions?
Paul Kadri: Now you’re being a wise guy. For those who don’t know, the Lions football team almost never wins. It is painful to be their fan.
A Gathering of Experts: Someone told me you have a relative who used to play football. Is that true?
Paul Kadri: Yes, my uncle was drafted by the Washington Redskins many years ago. My uncle is a very big man. He tried his entire life to get me to be a Redskins fan and could not understand why I stuck with the Lions.
A Gathering of Experts: What sports have you played?
Paul Kadri: In high school I played baseball and football. Baseball is my favorite, and while I liked football, I didn’t love it quite as much. Like my uncle, I have a large build, so people expected me to play football. When I went to college I tried to play football but I was too slow. I played rugby until I severely hurt my knee. That was when I took up golf and made the golf team. In business school and as an adult I played baseball and hockey.
A Gathering of Experts: You just took up golf and were able to make the team?
Paul Kadri: I did take lessons from someone who was excellent, and I found that I had some natural talent in golf. I did hit the ball farther than anyone; I just needed to learn how to hit it straight. I played all through college and considered trying to play professionally, but that is a very difficult sport to break into.
A Gathering of Experts: Do you still play golf?
Paul Kadri: Every chance I get.
A Gathering of Experts: You mentioned you had an interesting story about playing baseball in New York?
Paul Kadri: in the early 1990s I was working in New York for a bank. All the banks had baseball teams that competed against each other. It was a competitive league because some players were former professionals. The bank I work for was purchased by the world’s largest bank, which was a Japanese bank. When the playoffs started I began seeing some Japanese men watching the games. The coach announced that the president of all U.S. operations would be attending the next game. It was the quarterfinals and the other team had a pitcher who had played professional baseball. We lost but I had the only two hits for our side. The next thing I know, I’m being invited by the president of the company to have dinner with him. He explained to me that after World War II baseball was the only distraction they had from despair. They valued good play, and having dinner with me was his way of expressing his appreciation.
A Gathering of Experts: Any other sports thoughts before we conclude?
Paul Kadri: I have a daughter, and probably one of my greatest moments was taking her to the World Series last year in Detroit. She loved it. Unfortunately I took her to the Stanley Cup Final when the Red Wings were playing and she hated it. I have to work on her!
Paul Kadri is a public school administrator who has always emphasized sports in addition to arts and academics. A saying of Paul Kadri is that we develop the body, mind and soul of our students. Athletics is the body. For more information about Paul Kadri, visit his website at paulkadrionline.com.