By Robert Vincent
As I look around at sports fans, I see Brady jerseys and Yankee hats and LeBron’s latest shoes being sported by young and old alike. Kids look up to these athletes and teams as heroes. There is nothing wrong with this. Let me, however, give you some examples of true heroes.
Ever hear of Bob Kalsu? He was an All-American tackle at Oklahoma. After graduating, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and played every game of his rookie season in 1968 at offensive guard. He was also a member of his colleges ROTC program and, like his duty suggested, he went to Vietnam in November of 1969. On July 21, 1970, Kalsu was killed when his unit came under enemy fire. His wife was informed of his death just hours after she gave birth to their second child. Kalsu could have stayed and played ten or twelve years in the NFL, but instead, he gave his life for his nation.
Jack Lummus played nine games for the New York Giants as an end. He enlisted in the Marines on January 30, 1942. He was in the first wave of troops that landed on Iwo Jima on Feb 19, 1945 and he stayed on the island to fight for his country. On March 8 of that year, he helped defeat three strongholds, only to be mortally wounded from a grenade. His last words: “Well, doc, the New York Giants lost a mighty good end today.”
Eight months after September 11, 2001, Pat Tillman left a sure-fire Hall of Fame career in the NFL to become an Army Ranger. He served a tour in Iraq and then went to Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004, he was killed by friendly fire.
Others have served who could have stayed home and played a game. Ted Williams. Art Donovan. Joe Dimaggio. Jackie Robinson. This list goes on. These are heroes. Heroes above and beyond. This week, find a hero like these and simply say, “Thanks.”
Ironically, on Veteran’s Day week, the 16th greatest sports dynasty is The New England Patriots. The first real success had by the Pats came a good decade and a half before Tom Brady. The Patriots defied all odds and made it to Superbowl XX to face the Chicago Bears, only to lose 46-10. It took 11 years before they would get back to the big game with Bill Parcels as coach and Drew Bledsoe as quarterback. They lost this time to the Green Bay Packers.
True dynasty status, however, started in 2001. In the second game of the season, Drew Bledsoe got knocked out of the game with a bad hit and in comes the 199th pick of the 2000 draft from Michigan, Tom Brady. That year, The Pats went on to win Superbowl XXXVI by beating the Rams on a last second field goal.
They would return to the Superbowl two years later and win against the Panthers, and then do it again against the Eagles the following year.
Since 2001, they have been to 6 Superbowls, winning 4. They went undefeated in the regular season in 2007, only to lose a Superbowl to the Giants. They had big names like Brady, Owens, Welker, Bruschi, McGinest, Vrabel. They had the hooded genius for a coach in Belichick. The dynasty is still technically going, and looks as strong as ever as they enter week 10 this season at 8-0. This is why they are #16.
Bits and Pieces
Speaking of 8-0, I think the Pats MIGHT get beat by the Giants this week and who would think the other two undefeated teams would be The Panthers and The Bengals.
And my quote of the week? “I don’t know anything that builds the will to win better than competitive sports” Richard Nixon.