Pop-Ed: Dick Clark's 2011 New Year's Eve Countdown Worth Celebrating
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jan 1st 2011 10:40PM
I certainly understand my husband's point of view. It can be uncomfortable watching 'America's oldest teenager' struggle with his words. But at the end of the day I feel that's our issue to overcome, not his.
Clark, 80, who has been on television since the 1950s only took one year off from the countdown following his stroke in 2004. When he returned the following year, briefly viewed seated behind a desk slurring his speech, it was a jarring sight. He was breathless and had trouble finishing his sentences.
But he's been doing the countdown ever since. Last year he incorrectly counted down the numbers. But last night he executed it perfectly to ring in 2011 and his speech had noticeably improved.
Clark has said before that out of all the TV shows he produces -- including the Golden Globes and the American Music Awards -- the New Year's Eve show is his favorite and holds a special spot in his heart. And it must. Otherwise why would he make such an effort to appear year after year? Two years ago, Clark told USA Today "I still enjoy the honor of sharing in so many people's annual celebration. I wish my delivery was crisp and clean, but due to my stroke I'm happy that Ryan Seacrest now carries the heavier load."
It must be so hard for someone who made it look so easy in front of the camera for so many decades. One can only imagine the hours of preparation he puts in for just his little bit of screen time, going over the lines and trying to improve his impeded speech.
Last night just after the ball dropped they cut away to Clark who bowed his head and looked like he was crying. I'm sure he was deeply emotional at being around for another year and pulling off another New Year's countdown, a task he has done since 1972.
His Herculean efforts to continue broadcasting, albeit in a much reduced role, remind us to be grateful for our health. But more importantly, Clark's countdown reminds us that life puts up some awful obstacles for us that we have to push as hard as we can to overcome. Sometimes we can't, sometimes we can, but we always need to give it a try.
"I do the best I can," Clark has said pre-countdown "and have been encouraged to continue because I hear it serves to inspire many others." That it does.
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