Monday, December 14, 2009

Tis the Season...

While I was doing a little research I came across this article. The general idea of my blog is to talk about the positive things that athletes do, but I just had to share this. The way we are inundated with the negative, I think that we all can use a heartwarming story in our lives. I have always liked the idea of paying it forward gifts, as you can tell from my last article. I’m not going to talk about the content of this article, it speaks for itself. Check it out I’m sure you’ll be touched. Enjoy…and remember a smile is contagious. :)

Mystery Couple Starts "Magical" Chain Reaction

Friday, December 11, 2009

Eagle's "Pay It Forward"

Up until a few weeks ago I never had heard of the Colorado Eagles, a team that plays in the Central Hockey League in Loveland, Colorado. I was sitting watching the news when they had a little story about the team and a new program that they started called the “Pay-It-Forward” Program. It’s their way of giving back to the community. The news crew followed a player and one of the coaches on the day that they performed one of their acts of kindness. I know that this has been done before on different programs, but it was still very touching to see these athletes paying for people’s gas or buying their lunch. Watching this made me want to find out more about this program.


Here’s how it works. On each home game day, a member of the team will go out into the community and thank their fan base through simple acts of kindness. These acts can be picking up their lunch tab or handing out free team merchandise. They then give out a card which says: The Colorado Eagles are giving back to the community through simple deeds. We encourage your to do the same. Help a neighbor…Pay It Forward!

I have always loved that idea. Can you imagine if we all took that attitude in life? Just think about how much joy we could spread throughout our own communities.

As I was researching this article I found how this program has affected at least one man that was in need of a little cheering up after a rough day. This was a letter to the editor in the November 5th Loveland Reporter-Herald.

I’m guessing that the player who did this felt pretty good when he read the article. I hope this program is able to bring joy to many more people over the holiday season and beyond. As a hockey fan I’ll be making the drive up the road to check out the Colorado Eagles.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Blind Side

I just came home from watching “The Blind Side”, a movie based on a book written by Michael Lewis. If you watch any TV I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer by now. Being a big fan of sports movies it was on my list of ‘must sees’ from the beginning. There was a lot of hype leading into this one and for me the movie lived up to its billing.

It was heartwarming, inspirational…well just add your own cliché here. It was so much more than a sports movie. More than once I found myself getting a little choked up. There were also plenty of laughs (and not just the scenes they show in the trailers) so it was well balanced. This is a must see movie this holiday season.

For those of you who don’t know “The Blind Side” is based on the true story of Michael Oher, an offensive tackle with the Baltimore Ravens. This is truly one of those feel good stories.

Oher is the son of a drug-addicted mother, who spent a lot of his young life in and out of foster care. A friend of Oher’s biological father was able to get him into a private Christian school. While attending, Michael is taken in by the Tuohy family and later adopted. With the help of some caring teachers, Oher was able to improve his failing grades enough to participate in sports, where he excelled in football.

When asked about Michael, Sean Tuohy, Oher’s adoptive father and radio analyst for the Memphis Grizzlies said, “He was a good kid when he came to our house. He was incredibly intelligent when he came to our house and of course incredibly athletic. We didn't have anything to do with all of that. All we did, as my wife said, was make sure he was fed and watered and had a nice place to sleep. Sometimes that's all kids need and they don't get it."

What impressed me the most about Michael Oher’s story wasn’t the opportunities he was given, but that he took advantage of those opportunities. He arrived at Briarcrest Christian School (called Wingate Christian in the movie) with barely passing grades and with the help of a tutor, was not only able to get his grades up to be eligible for college, once there he made the chancellor’s honor roll (he attended Ole Miss) while becoming one of the best offensive lineman in the country. The Baltimore Raven’s thought highly enough of him to trade up in the 2009 draft to get him. In his rookie season, he has started all the games so far this year.

How many times do we here about this person or that person, who has all the ability in the world, and given every opportunity to succeed, only to fail because they don’t take advantage of those opportunities. Michael had plenty of reason to just quit and give up, but he didn’t. I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy are very proud of their son, I know as a parent I would be.
Picture taken by Ravens team photographer Shawn Hubbard.

Friday, November 20, 2009

NFL Pro Bowler Shows Support for Late Coach's Son

Last Monday night Josh Cribbs had to be carried off a football field on a stretcher, having suffered a concussion on the last play of the game. Two days earlier, I didn't even know who Joshua Cribbs was. At that time I just happened upon an article about a former Kent State football player who walked out on to the field on senior night at a high school football game. Not really a news worthy story you might say, but he did so for his late coach's son.

Mike Drake, a senior at Stow High School, assumed he would be joined by his mother and sister for senior night introductions. Instead he got the surprise of his life when Pro Bowler, Josh Cribbs arrived minutes before the start of the game.

"I looked, then looked away, then said, 'Why are you here?'" Michael recalled. "I was shocked."

Before the seniors last game, Cribbs offered Michael some advice.

"He said, 'Play your heart out. This is it. Give it your all. Don't ever stop on any play. Keep pushing.'" Michael said. "I almost felt worried. I didn't want to look bad for him."

Cribbs was recruited by Michael's late father, Michael Sr, to play at Kent State. Drake was a father figure for Cribbs and he credits Michael Sr with teaching him the fundamentals that he uses today.

When asked about it, Cribbs said, "he was there to support and encourage, not at all to replace the type of father his father was." He admitted that it was an emotional evening.

I know this doesn't seem like much, but to me it shows what kind of person Josh Cribbs is. This wasn't a self-serving act. He did this for the family of a man he respected. He down played the entire thing. After all, this took place on October 30 and wasn't reported by the news media until November 14. With the way news gets reported today, that's an eternity.