On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 25, 2016 #577 Up next…” A Chance to Say Thank You!”
After further review…As we approach Super Bowl 50 (February 7, 2016) the TunneySide takes a “Time-Out” for a thank you to Bart Starr, now 82 years of age, who played quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1956-1971. Bart was the MVP of Super Bowls I and II (though it was referred to as the World Championship Game until the AFL and NFL merged in 1970). His coach was Vincent T. Lombardi. After he retired from playing, #15 followed in Lombardi’s footsteps as the Packers head coach for eight seasons. Bart told this story to me several years ago:
“I played for Vince Lombardi for nine of my sixteen years in pro football. I know well his coaching accomplishments with the Green Bay Packers and his skill at teaching and motivating players. There are more stories about Coach’s methods and results than any other person associated with the National Football League, in that era or anytime.
“One sign of the respect and affection Lombardi inspired is that everyone simply called him “Coach.” All the players, the trainers, the grounds crew, everyone associated with the Packers organization, the sportswriters and media, avid Green Bay fans, even people on the street who had never attended a game at Lambeau Field, simply called him “Coach” with pride and thanks in their voice. His reputation is deserved, even today, these many years after his death, for he was a true original—a colorful, always passionate man who loved the game and those who loved it. He did not abide loose play and nonchalance. He expected and respected commitment. However, my most cherished memory of Coach is far more personal.
“Shortly before his death my wife Cherry and I were invited to his home. We sat, talked and quipped about our times with the Packers. Then Cherry said ‘Coach, none of this would have been possible if you had not believed in Bart, if you had not given him the opportunity you did. We are very grateful to you.’ Coach’s eyes filled with tears and he left the room. It was only a short time after our visit that we learned Coach had been diagnosed with the cancer that would quickly take his life less than four months after our visit. Coach died September 3, 1970.”
There’s a reason the Super Bowl Trophy is called the Lombardi Trophy. And Starr’s adherence to Coach’s principles is the reason why he is renowned today–45 years after he hung up #15.
Will you take the time to thank someone who gave you a chance to be who you are?
To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.
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