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Homage Episode 29: Mike Petrella

Mikey P – WOW, doing an episode of Homage really brought back a flood of memories. We’re taking it all the way back to like 1984 with this episode, brother. Too many sports to list through our youth. We’ve both aged like fine wines (said with sarcasm). It’s been great catching up with you after so many years. As the saying goes…you can take the kid out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of the kid. Following your journey as we travel through different parts of the advertising world in our careers has been cool as well. The journey is what we find ourselves in now as we embark on our mid-40s. There’s been highs and lows and everything in between. I am thankful that we could have this conversation and that it brought things full circle. The journey (and sharing it with friends) is the best part of the ride. This was very special for me, and I hope our parents get to all this and share a laugh about how two suburban kids from Wyckoff have “embraced life” and have taken their wisdom and imparted it to the next generation.

What I most enjoyed about our time together was that a lot of time had gone by without physically seeing each other, but the conversation flowed like we never missed a day. Going all the way back to the Coolidge days, it’s been a ride, brother. Baseball, basketball, soccer – there was always something. I am not sure if you even remember this, but the “Fog Bowl” game between the Bears and the Eagles in Philly way back when (one of the NFL’s most famous games), I was at your house hanging out. As kids, it was easy to grab a bike and go. We were very lucky in that respect. Or, as you mentioned in this episode when I had my birthday at The Intrepid, and we were in the back of my dad’s van playing football and beating the hell out of each other on the West Side Highway. Dude, that makes for good drama. The ’80s were immense!

As I pick guests for Homage, it’s usually to bring someone’s story into my sphere. Watching your journey as a husband, father and professional and your ability to share it with the written word is what got me. Your ability to “prioritize family over everything” is something that I admire greatly. I love watching your posts about your wife and daughters and their journeys, and I’ve learned a lot about navigating (especially on the daughter front) with my own two. There’s a great deal to be said for men like you, dude. You have a great understanding of your environment, and it’s a pleasure for me to share your story here on this medium.

Another reason this was the right time to share your story is because of your vulnerability and your ability to connect with those in a world right now that is super complex and challenging. When I saw you begin to share your blogs about getting laid off and how you challenged yourself in that personal journey was inspiring to me, and I hope it is to others that can glean a great deal from your words and the feelings behind them. I read those posts and felt energized because of your ability to connect and do it in a way that was sincere and helpful (probably in one of your most challenging times). That is an art form. Don’t ever lose that. You can tell from folks’ responses that you are respected and revered by those you’ve known and continue to inspire.

To close, Mikey P, this Homage is yours. Do not change. Do not compromise on your values. Stay true to who you are and what you believe, and all good things will come your way. You’ve worked hard and earned your peers’ trust and admiration, which is priceless in today’s day and age. I am thankful for our friendship and look forward to getting together soon when you’re back up in NJ. Keep crushin’, and thank you for being you, pal.

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