OASES IN A LONG HOT SUMMER
It’s been a long summer in sports and if you’re anything like me you’ve had it up to your ears with Alex Rodriquez, Aaron Hernandez and Johnny Manziell. The seeming fascination with the underbelly of the sports world has been particularly disturbing this summer as we bury game stories behind weapons searches, plea hearings, suspensions, appeals and the latest escapades of pampered athletes with holier than thou beliefs that they’ll never be called to judgment for their actions. For those of you as beleaguered by all of this as I am I offer New York Giants punter Steve Weatheford, a notorious tweeter who quietly accepted his back-up role as an unsung hero of “Big Blue’s” latest Super Bowl Championship. Aware of Weatherford’s availability through tweeting Diane Brennan, who described herself as coming from a “Humble family in Rhode Island” and her father as a man who carried on a life long love affair with the Giants, even though he lived in the heart of Patriots country, contacted the punter. She tells of stories her father would relate from the days of Y.A. Tittle and Sam Huff. Her father, Joseph Brennan, was dying of stage four lung cancer and didn’t have long to live when Diane, looking for something to brighten his final days reached out to Weatherford through cyberspace, asking if he could sign her father’s cherished Giants cap. The response was immediate, “Whatever you want, I will get it to you as soon as I can.” “It took a minimal effort on my part”, Weatherford downplayed his gesture in the New York Post, in which Diane told of the smile on her father’s face when they placed the cap on his head. He wore the cap, and the smile, until he died. We’ve heard the expression “Pay it forward”, the act of keeping a good deed going. It wasn’t lost on Boston College senior wideout Alex Amidon when the Eagles opened practice for the coming ACC football season. Remembering the actions of senior receiver Billy Flutie when he was a freshman, Amidon, as related by this morning’s Boston Globe, reached out to freshman receivers Drew Barksdale and Charlie Callinan on opening day. “They’re the new guys”, Amidon told the Globe, “And obviously they were coming in nervous about camp. I just made sure to tell them, ‘Hey, it’s the first day, you’re going to make mistakes and stuff, but you can’t play afraid to make mistakes.'” Coach Steve Addazio says Amidon has gone from the quiet guy on the sidelines to the team leader who reaches out to the younger players to ease their transition to college. When asked by the New York Post which three people in history he would most like to have dinner with, rookie New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who was never one to blow his own horn during his college days at West Virginia, answered, “Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ and Socrates.” I assume you understand why I told you these stories at this time, I only regret that I had to look hard to find them, hidden under the stories about A-Rod, Aaron Hernandez and Johnny Manziell. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.