Please add another ‘D’ to GamingToday

Mar 27, 2001 7:00 AM

FATHER & SON! I like the coupling. There have been others across the board and across the years. George Bush Sr. and George W., Joseph Kennedy and sons, Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas, and William Randolph Hearst and Randolph Hearst, and on and on. But none ever rang the bell, as does the term Father & Son. Perhaps it has something to do with my Italian upbringing. I don’t know. It’s just always been there. Family ties were taught along with the ABCs. Honor your father and mother regardless. It might be OK to get angry with your father, but always he was to be respected.

By the time my son Eddie came along, times were swiftly changing. Not for us, but for the world around us. It was tough for Eddie. My way wasn’t the way it was anymore. But I never gave an inch. Reluctantly (at the time), he surrendered. There was resistance. But when the shouting ended, Eddie fell in line. If it wasn’t out of love, for sure it was out of respect.

Most of his life, Eddie’s father was a gambler. Most of his pals were players. Eddie loved to be in their company. Hearing the stories hit a high note in his life. His mother always feared he would follow in his father’s footsteps as a player. I did, too. But thank goodness, we got lucky. Eddie never caught the bug — but I must admit, money management lectures came early in his life. Just in case!

When he graduated from college, I hoped he would take an interest in the family business. He did for a time, but it wasn’t for him . . . not then, anyway.

Respect runs both ways. I never tried to force him to do anything unless it came from within. He opted to get into the casino business. He opened the MGM Grand in casino credit. He quickly moved up the ladder. He hit the floor as a marketing executive. He seemed to flourish. When Mandalay Bay opened, he was offered a better assignment as a casino administrator. He was not only learning the business, he was learning all about himself.

When Greektown was putting together an executive team, Eddie was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. He moved to Detroit. It took a long time for the casino to open. But it didn’t take Eddie long to move up once it did. It was his years in Detroit when I first noticed what every father hopes to see in his son. He was growing. All the seeds his mother and I had planted were sprouting.

Last month, he told me he was promoted to vice president of player development with a crew of 44 at his side.

My buttons began popping.

Then, much to my surprise, Eddie came home to visit. He told me that, as much as he loved his career, he wished he’d gotten more involved in the family business. The few buttons that hadn’t already popped were suddenly gone. I didn’t want to rush the idea. I just let it develop. The more he talked, the more I was convinced it was what he really wanted. In all my years as a father, I never soared so high.

Elsewhere in this issue is the happiest story ever written:

Edward R. Di Rocco, 33, has joined Dirson Enterprises as executive vice president. Home at last. He will oversee and, hopefully, some day run the affairs of Dirson: GamingToday newspaper, Flyer magazine and the hottest website in cyberspace.