Updated: Apr 27, 2021
It is with pride and joy I present to you the 23rd member of Team Do Good, the mighty Nick D'Amico. If you don't know, Nick is my small group leader at Society of St. Joseph and does a fantastic job. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate Nick here via Tampa Bless and Team Do Good. His willingness to participate in this feature is highly appreciated. And now, without further ado...
Name: Nick D’Amico
Place of birth: Cleveland, OH
Currently reside: Tampa, FL
Heritage: Italian and Lebanese
Family: Wife and one baby girl
Alma Mater: St. Ignatius High School (Cleveland, OH), John Carroll University (University Heights, OH), The University of Florida, Levin College of Law (Gainesville, FL)
Activities you organized or participate in related to helping others and uplifting humanity?
I am a small group leader for the Society of St. Joseph at Christ the King Catholic Church. Small group leaders help facilitate discussion at our Tuesday morning meetings based on a video we watched or text that we read before the meeting. At work, I am the chair of the Quarles Cares Committee, the community outreach committee of Quarles & Brady’s Tampa office. I also take on a few pro bono matters each year.
The Tampa Bless 12
1) Favorite pastime or hobby? Why? Please explain.
I love reading non-fiction, mostly history, economics, theology, and philosophy. There’s just so much to learn and so much that I don’t know, so I love spending a free afternoon reading a book about really anything. 20th Century history fascinates me: globalization, capitalism versus communism, modern wars, technology, and space exploration. It was such an eventful century and we can learn a lot about humanity by studying it.
2) Favorite sport, team, or player? If not into sports, your favorite musician or album? Or answer one of each if you’d like or any combo. Please explain why for any one or more of the questions you answered.
My favorite sport is football, and favorite team is the Cleveland Browns, who just this past year had the best season they’ve had in my lifetime. I have very high hopes for this team. I also ran track in college and I enjoy watching professional sprinters like Usain Bolt and Wayde Van Niekerk. My favorite musician is Jack Johnson. He’s a songwriter from Hawaii who writes blues and folk-influenced beachy jams. Great for relaxing, driving, hanging with friends and family. And, if you dive into his deep cuts, you’ll find some very thoughtful and challenging social commentary and musings on life and humanity.
3) Favorite movie? Why? Please explain.
It’s tough to pick a favorite, it can often depend on my mood. But one movie that I enjoy no matter what mood I am in is Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. A lot of people hate on the prequels or make fun of Hayden Christensen, but I think the movie is excellent. The action, including the iconic lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin in the final sequence, is the best in the entire Star Wars series. John Williams’ score is perfection. And watching Anakin’s struggle and fall into the dark side, I can’t help but think of my own struggles with control, anger, and humility. This is George Lucas’s best work.
4) Favorite place (country, city, town, etc…) you have visited and why?
Beijing, China. I studied abroad there my junior year of college, where I met my wife who was also studying abroad there, but from a different school in the U.S. The city is incomprehensibly massive. Ancient temples, hutongs, and palaces juxtaposed against hyper-modern skyscrapers is a tangible representation of China’s fascinating history and recent growth. You can pop into pretty much any hole-in-the-wall and enjoy some of the best noodles, dumplings, or steamed buns you’ve ever had. And, you can’t beat the Beijing subway system--by far the best public transit system I’ve ever used.
5) Last meal? You could have anything, what is it? Why? Please explain.
I love anything cooked on an open flame or slow-smoked. So my ideal last meal would probably be a barbeque at my parent's house in Ohio in the summer. Some ribs in the smoker, Italian sausage on the grill, a cold IPA, and my dad’s “On the Patio”--a playlist he curated full of folk, blues, reggae, and anything else that makes you happy--playing on the speakers. With two dozen or so of my friends and family.
6) Three activities or routines you would highly recommend? Please explain your reasoning for each.
1. Cold Showers - just try it. I started doing this when I did Exodus 90 last year and continued the practice even after Exodus was over. Now, to be fair, it's much easier to take a cold shower in Florida than in Ohio. But regardless, you feel amazing after. It’s good for your heart and circulation, your skin, your alertness, and probably saves money on energy too.
2. Monthly Confession - the Sacrament of Penance is so underused by Catholics. It's such a beautiful gift that for years--close to a decade at one point--I did not take advantage of. My life is materially better now that I go monthly. It forces me to focus more on my shortcomings, while at the same time not being so hard on myself when I fail. This might seem counterintuitive at first, but makes so much sense when you experience it.
3. Reading at night - I don’t do this as consistently as I would like, but reading rather than watching a show or staring at my phone before I go to bed helps me to sleep so much better, on top of being a better use of my time. The light emitted from screens signals to our brains that it is time to be awake, so naturally we find it hard to sleep after spending an hour scrolling Twitter. Reading a book, on the other hand, tires me out in a few minutes.
7) A) Personality trait you highly value? Why? Please explain. B) The personality trait you highly dislike? Why? Please explain.
A. Humility - nothing is harder than being humble. When I encounter a genuinely humble person, I want to emulate them. And naturally, you always feel good when you are around someone who is humble, because they always make everything about the people they are with, rather than themselves.
B. Sarcasm - I see this trait worn as a badge of honor nowadays, but I find it very destructive. Sarcasm stems from superiority--fundamentally, pride. People often use sarcasm when they argue, and often on matters of great consequence, such as religion or politics. While our goal when we debate religion or politics should be to convince the other person, sarcasm does just the opposite: it causes the other person to be angry or annoyed, and less likely to agree with you even if what you are saying is true. When we are sarcastic, we are less interested in genuinely convincing someone of the truth, and more interested in making ourselves feel superior.
8) Favorite thinker (author, philosopher, theologian, etc…)? Why? Please explain. And what is your favorite piece of advice, quote, or text from them or in general? Why? Please explain.
Right now, C.S. Lewis. I especially like what C.S. Lewis says about noise and silence: that our world is plagued by noise, and that heaven is either beautiful music or silence. He said this over a half-century ago, and it is even truer today. This noise distracts us from contemplating nature, the divine, the eternal, from contemplating goodness, truth, and beauty. Instead, we are dumbed down, distracted, and entertained. I think our souls would benefit a lot from silence.
9) Biggest influence in your life or a top one, and what was it about them that really stood out?
My parents are my biggest influence. Of course, I have known them longer than any other people just by default. But aside from that, they raised me in the faith, they taught me work ethic, compassion, empathy, and inquiry. Their selflessness stands out the most, especially now that I am a new dad. I always knew they sacrificed for their children, but being a father now, I see this so much more clearly.
10) If there is one thing you could change in the world, what would it be?
Media seems inescapable today. I think the world would benefit from silence. Less screens, less media, less noise. Just silence so we can appreciate close relationships with our friends and family, we can appreciate the beauty of nature and creation, and we can contemplate the divine and eternal.
11) Where did your desire to help others and uplift humanity come from? Please explain.
I think it is inherent in everyone--I don’t think I have a particular propensity to help or uplift. I am fortunate to belong to a great parish of inspired and intelligent people who teach me constantly.
12) What are you working on now and how can people get involved?
Nothing to share here just yet that I am personally working on, but I invite men (whether Catholic, non-Catholic Christian, or anything else) to come to our Society of St. Joseph meetings on Tuesday mornings at 6 am in the McLoughlin Center at Christ the King Catholic Church for discussion on faith, religion, culture, and genuine masculinity. While I am a small group leader, I find myself constantly learning from the perspectives of the other men in the group, rather than the other way around.
Thank you so much for your time Nick and for all that you do. The place we live in is that much better because of you. I hope that this feature has served to inspire you, as well as successfully celebrate those that help others and uplift humanity.
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