by | Jun 24, 2015

There’s this precious scene from The Wonder Years when young Kevin, curious about Winnie’s interests in another, asks if she likes the boy. She replies to Kevin, “Do you mean do I ‘like him’ like him, or do I just like him?

In 1979, I “just knew” Leonard Nitz. At that point in his long career on road and track, he was hard not to know. But I didn’t “know him” know him. That changed when Len Preheim of Toga Bicycles, acting on my behalf as a frame supplier to his store as well as a sponsor of his NYC based team, created an arranged marriage, linking a nationally renowned athlete (Nitz) with an equipment supplier (me).

The agreement between Len and Leonard was drafted without my knowledge, yet when I saw it I understood why it was important to set boundaries. The three of us were taking a chance on each other, with lots at stake. Nitz raced at the highest level, and needed assurance that his equipment needs would be taken care of. I did my job. And he did his. The affair lasted two seasons during which time we got to know each other very well. Then the three of us moved on.
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