Ground Bound Blue Angel
While we, as the members of the 4Cs and many other Corvette enthusiast clubs, have had the good fortune to own and enjoy the car that many dream of having, the National Corvette Museum has published an inspiring story of Corvette ownership and the story of John “Sparky” Lersch. I've summarized his story below to pique your interest to go out and read his entire article here: http://www.corvettemuseum.org/ground-bound-blue-angel/
Sparky's story starts with how he played football for a Pittsburgh, PA area high school where he was recruited to play football for a number of college programs, including United States Naval Academy coach Steve Belichick (father of New England Patriot’s coach Bill Belichick). However, Sparky desired to play football and go to school in the South, where it was warmer, until a deal was struck with his father. It seems that one day, after talking to Coach Belichick, Sparky and his father drove past his high school home coming queen's house and saw that she had just received a 1967 dark green Corvette convertible. Upon seeing the Corvette, Sparky got the idea to say to his father, "If I go to the Naval Academy, will you buy me a new Corvette?" His father agreed, and a deal was struck for Sparky to join the US Naval Academy.
During Sparky's Senior year, he was finally allowed to have a car on campus, so he and his father went to a local dealer who gave great deals to midshipmen, and Sparky picked out a 1973 dark blue Corvette. Up until this point, Sparky had never even sat in a Corvette until the day his new one was delivered from the factory. Later in life, Sparky started a habit of buying a new Corvette after returning from a Navy cruise, driving it until his next cruise and then selling it. This continued until 1981, the last time Sparky owned a Corvette until recently.
As a 64 year old retiree with a 31 year career in commercial aviation at Delta Airlines, Sparky was now facing a serious health issue which caused him to reflect back on his life. Sparky went home and started flipping through an old photo album, running across a picture of his 1973 Corvette. “I decided the only thing on my Bucket List was to get one last Corvette.” After a serious conversation with his Doctor, Sparky decided to go out and get a brand new 2017 Corvette, Admiral Blue with a big yellow stripe down the hood.
While Sparky's outlook has been recently looking up, he drives his Corvette to his doctor's appointments stating that, "No matter how bad I feel, dropping the hammer on 460hp of a Stingray is just as much fun as it was 44 years ago. You just can’t feel sorry for yourself in the cockpit of America’s premier sports machine.”
Thanks to the National Corvette Museum and Sparky Lersch for sharing his inspiring story.