WeissCrax: Life’s greatest ambassador

He’s the type of guy who can do it all…and usually does.

Soccer. Hoops. Baseball. Floor hockey. As a player. As a coach.

But more than anything else, Desmond Banning is my best friend. We met at work seven years ago. He delivers our mail and always-inspiration.

“Thanks for coming in today,” he tells others during his daily rounds around the building.

“Nice to see you today, Desmond,” I say when he stops by my executive suite.

“Thank you,” he replies, “Nice to be seen.”

Desmond Banning and Congressional Rep. Lois Capps.

He helps with our many community projects. Comfortable in any scenario; he enjoys chillin’ with PGA golfer Fred Couples at a local tourney or helping out with his good pal, whom he refers to as, “The President of Santa Barbara.” (Psst: Lois Capps serves double duty as our US Congressional Representative.)

Desmond is one busy dude….

I never know what to expect with him around – except one thing: we always have fun. He laughs at my jokes and we can do silly things.  Just boys being boys.

Throughout it all – Desmond helps me a better person every day by sharing his life perspective.

It’s a unique, simple and beautiful view of the world around us….

He wears his emotions on his sleeves. “What you see is what you get” – just the way I like it.

Fortunately, he now takes better care of himself. Gone are the days of him putting Coca-Cola on his morning Frosted Flakes.

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Whenever we’re traveling around in the car, Desmond is often a special guest on our make-believe sports radio show. We use a plastic water bottle as our ‘mike.” Here’s a sample:

Me: We’re LIVE – on the air with the world famous Desmundo, a very decorated Special Olympian. How ya doing today?

Him: Fine.

Me: Desmundo, you are a leader on the local sports scene. Can you describe to our many listeners how it feels to be an amazingly talented athlete?

Him: Umm. Not really.

Me: A few years ago you set a then-Santa Barbara County record, I believe, in the softball toss at the Special Olympics annual track meet. Can you tell us about that?

Him: Yes.

Me: OK, go ahead….

Him: I don’t know. I just did it.

Me: Desmundo. You have the biggest heart in the world. You always like to help others all the time. Why do you do it?

Him: It just feels good.

Me: And that’s our show for today. Thank you. Thank you very much….

Sometimes when we hang out together, others ask if we are in the “Big Brother Program.” I always tell the truth…

“Yes, it took me awhile but I finally convinced Desmond to be my Big Brother.”

Desmond and Randy share a cart on the course.

Everyone seems to know him. Around town…at Forester baseball games…at the local Boys and Girls Club…where ever we go, he always gets a shout-out from someone.

“What’s it like being famous?” I ask him.

“I don’t know. It’s OK,” he offers honestly.

Desmond brings out the best in others. I watch their reactions – an always smile. It’s amazing to see him in action.

This past week, he had his 30-something birthday. He celebrated by taking the day off and going to IHOP – twice.


My wonderful friend truly enjoys life. He’s a giver, not a taker (except for free IHOP pancakes) and there is much we can learn from him about living in each and every moment.

I know because he teaches me all the time.

In my opinion, Desmond Banning is really life’s greatest ambassador…

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Randy Weiss WeissCrax appears regularly on Presidiosports.com