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Misc General General Archive Life's Most Difficult Lessons
Written by Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich

Good JobOn the surface, Brian Gale is the type of person that you assume has a pretty good handle on things.  He’s an MBA and a CEO, pretty big letters in both cases, but that’s just the present tense.  At St. Ignatius, Coach Chuck Kyle demanded a lot out of his defensive end.  The high standard is all about the school, that some of us know mostly as a football factory, but the standards exist in the classroom and all other walks of life.  After learning football and life from “Chico” Kyle, new challenges awaited Mr. Gale in the Ivy League classroom and on the field for the Harvard Crimson.

With all of that education, including a Masters’ program at the University of Chicago, he reminds the world that some of life’s lessons come from the most unlikely of places.  In Brian’s case, it comes from his children.  From the heart-warming story of everything that he’s learned from 6 year-old son Logan to the difficult tale of living life without their daughter, Peyton Kimberly Gale, Brian shares his experiences in Good Job, Airplane!, an autobiography of sorts that he wrote with Erik Cassano of this very site.

Brian shares stories of some of his own life experiences and brings us to the workplace, at ID Images in Brunswick, where Brian tries to keep an open ear with his employees because he is always open to the idea of making things better.  He likes when things are better at home too, better for Logan and better for everyone he loves in this world.  Though he offers good advice for the work-place and indulged me with the potentially never-ending conversation about sports when I spoke with him on the phone, this book is all about the family.  That’s because Brian is all about the family, even his extended family at ID Images.

Brian and LoganThis book is a gift to Logan, a token of gratitude for being a great son and a good friend.  This young man may never understand how he was supposed to feel, or what he was supposed to say to Brian and his mother, Kelly, when he heard the news that his baby sister was gone.  Logan asked questions about everything, and he still does, but Brian had no answers for Logan.  How do you explain a stillborn child to a child too young to understand mortality?  Heck, 34 years of experience hasn’t given Yours Truly the type of insight that it takes to handle that very real subject.

Logan and Brian grow together from this experience, and everything else.  Logan is a brilliant young man, based on the stories told in the book, including the catch-phrase that inspired the title.  After Peyton, a Disney trip fell into the lap of the Gale family, and what a great way to get away from the challenges of day-to-day life without Peyton, whose life was taken from her, two months before it was supposed to begin.  A potential nightmare for parents of young children has to be air travel, because no one really wants to be responsible for a screaming child in cramped spaces, but that’s the way it has to be sometimes.  On this trip, to Logan’s satisfaction, the plane made it from Cleveland to Orlando.

GaleGood Job, Airplane!  It’s something that’s whispered at the end of flights for Brian now, but certainly has an increased meaning for Gale these days.  It means that everything you do or don’t do in life makes a difference, everyone makes an impact.  It’s simple, yet so complex.  That’s a fairly profound statement to be made by a toddler.  Last summer, when a Miami basketball team we don’t like talking about struggled, a child became famous with his words that were mocked in our part of the world.

“Good effort, good job,” the child repeated in an enthusiastic tone.  We get so caught up on winners and losers, and who can be the edgiest or snarkiest guy on Twitter.  Whether the kid’s words were mostly mocked the viewing public, or possibly absorbed by a player or two, he made an impact.  Of course, we don’t care for the players he was honestly just trying to support, but it was a good gesture.  People like me, quite removed from childhood and also removed from any interaction with America’s youth for a while, are cheated out of the lessons that we can learn from the innocent, uncorrupted mind.

LoganLogan Gale is potrayed as the hero, not with a moment for a sound bite, he’s sold as the genuine article for everything you want a son to be.  I don’t have any children of my own, but from the other side of that coin, I can appreciate having the relationship that I do with my father.  He’s everything you want a dad to be, and when Logan’s old enough to realize what a gift this family auto-biography is, he might just feel the same way about his old man.

Brian understands that “because I told you so” isn’t going to fly with a mind like Logan’s, so things that can be explained are explained.  With Peyton, Brian and Kelly had no answers for Logan, but the experts could offer few answers for the grieving parents.  The Gale family couldn’t just clock out, they kept going eventually.  Through stories of the pre-schooler son, life kept going.

Whether it was his favorite Scooby Doo character or how he dumped his first girlfriend over something straight out of a Seinfeld script, Logan has a way of seeing the world, and also the reader.  From what Brian tells me, Logan’s a fairly avid golfer, whose dad won’t let him win, though he did once out-drive him…so what if he was playing from a much closer tee box?

KyleBrian speaks highly of golf, as a game, as a team-building exercise, and as a place that he can bond with his son.  The tone of this book wasn’t exactly a sports book, but the author does share his experiences on the field.  He was required to play hard on the practice field, as well as under the lights, and he enjoyed the glory of playing for the best team in Ohio.  This was the Chuck Kyle experience.

“Chico”, that’s what Gale refers to him as, Chico Kyle.  He’s a teacher first, then a coach.  He’s a man that isn’t about himself.  He’s all about family, and he’s the guy that not only remembers you, but remembers liking you.  Recently, nearly twenty years removed from the school where Kyle has coached for the last 31 years, Gale and Kyle were on the same plane.  The coach recognized his old defensive end immediately.

“Starting at defensive end, Brian Gale,” the coach recalled.  When asked by another passenger how they knew each other, Kyle told the passenger that he was a teacher, and our author was his student.  Though Gale never sat in one of Chico’s classrooms, the statement was true.  They didn’t talk football, the coach wanted to know about Brian’s family, about Brian’s life.

By the way, the coach didn’t get into specifics about what he was doing in Baltimore, flying back to Cleveland in the summer.  He dismissed it as “some football thing”.  The local paper would explain the next day that Kyle was selected as the first coach of USA Football.  Some football thing; my foot!  For all the arrogance that Coach Chuck Kyle could possess, considering his accomplishments, he doesn't wear it and probably doesn't have it.  Maybe he learns from his students, the way his student learned from his young son and by honoring his daughter.  It was hard to ask Gale if he thought that was what Kyle was about, but that’s a question that I believe only Kyle could have answered.

Arrangements were made for me to speak with the coach, maybe to make this about the sports angle to frame it for this site, but I ultimately opted not to, though it would have been an honor to do so.  I want this to be a about Brian and the Gale family.  However, I didn’t ask Gale about Peyton at all; it seemed to painful and personal to address, despite the fact that it’s the story he wanted to tell the world.  What I take away from it all is just how real someone you never get to meet might be; that’s incredible and isn’t lost on me, even if I was too cowardly to ask the difficult question.

Good Job, Airplane! discusses leadership, relationships, how to see things in the proper perspective, and how to really live life.  Brian promotes a healthy career/life balance, but subject of mortality and the blatant reality of infant stillbirth come to the forefront.

Brian is available for speaking engagements throughout the region.  If you'd like Brian to speak to your group about stillbirth awareness and prevention, work/life balance, or any of the other topics covered in the book, e-mail him at

"Good Job, Airplane!" is available on  Purchase the hardcover version, or download the electronic version to your Kindle.



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