The Luck of the Draw!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 24, 2014 #481 Up next…The Luck of the Draw!

After further review…At first glance this headline might prompt you to think it refers to how your T*E*A*M fared in the formation of the NCAA basketball brackets. Or that perhaps, having just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, your lucky Shamrock is trying to tell you something. Not so.

The “Luck” invoked here had to do with being in the audience at the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation Sportsnight dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey. Some 400 youths (7 years and up) along with a group of host attendees (40/50/60 years and up) listened with rapt attention to guest celebrity Andrew Luck. He is now approaching his third year as the starting quarterback on the AFC South Champion Indianapolis Colts, having replaced the iconic Peyton Manning.

Andrew Luck was born in Washington D.C., but spent his early years in London and Frankfurt since his father, Oliver, was the general manager of the World League of American football.        An unusual circumstance for an American kid wanting to play American football, but Luck made the most of it.

Returning to Houston, Texas (where Oliver was the CEO of the Houston Sports Authority), Luck set many football passing records at Stafford High School, along with serving as the valedictorian of his senior class. After considering several prestigious higher education offers, Andrew chose to attend Stanford University where he graduated with a degree in architectural design. He was eligible to enter the NFL draft following his junior year, and projected to be a first round selection, but the lure of early departure was outweighed by his desire to finish his education.

In his engaging remarks to all the young faces in that crowd, Andrew de-emphasized football glory and described instead how vital an education was. He said that for him, knowing the average length of an NFL player’s career was less than four years meant he had to give serious consideration to what “I was going to do for my next 60 or 70 years after football was over.” Reading, studying, and preparation were essential in his life, he said. That message hit home.

800 eyes stared unblinking at this 6’4” Texan who was more like a big brother than a sports star.  In fact when someone asked about a memorable moment in his life, Luck smiled and recalled his younger brother Addison’s success in a recent soccer match. That’s a true role model  talking.

Will you pay attention to this Luck-y lesson in your own life?

To contact Jim go to or email him at

My new book “101 Best of Tunney Side of Sports” is available at


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