Saturday, February 28, 2009

One of The Greatest

I read this story on It was written by Rick Riley. 

This is a story I want to tell ALL athletes who think that what they do, how they act, the little kindnesses they give or withhold from fans don't matter.

It'll take only a minute.

My wife, Cynthia, was adopted. At 36, she found half her biological family on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. Turns out she had four half brothers, one named Lil Bob, who was as big as a tree.

Lil Bob, a bar owner, could pick a man up with one hand and throw him out the front door. He was gregarious and funny and always seemed to have his son, Jake, hanging onto one of his huge legs. Unfortunately, he was also a full-blown alcoholic. Many were the days that started and ended with a quart of Jack Daniel's, although you could never tell.

In size and in heart, Lil Bob was one of Montana's biggest Broncos fans. His hero was John Elway. He joked that he wanted to be buried in an Elway jersey, with pallbearers in Elway jerseys, and an Elway football in his huge hand. His one regret was dropping out of school in eighth grade, ending his football career. His one dream was to take Jake to a Broncos game. Sometimes on the reservation, the dreams come small.

Last March, Lil Bob's liver failed. One awful hospital day, Jake, now 13, walked up to the bed, took his dad's head in his hands, put his mouth to his forehead and told him he couldn't go yet. Told him he needed him to stay and take him to a Broncos game. Stay and watch him grow up and play for the Broncos.

Lil Bob's death, a few days later, seemed to send Jake into that shapeless, black sinkhole where boys go when their best friend is gone for reasons they can't understand. "I tried to talk to him, but he was closed to it," says Jake's mom, Lona Burns. "He started doing bad in school. Kids picked on him. Every day I fought him just to go. His grades dropped. He didn't even care about going to football practice, didn't want to play."

Worse yet, since the day Lil Bob died, Jake hadn't cried.

And then, this past October, one of Lil Bob's best friends — a restaurant owner named Christopher Hamlet — decided to make good on an unfulfilled dream: He bought two plane tickets, packed up Jake and flew to Denver. Jake was finally going to a Broncos game.

As locals, Cynthia and I took them to lunch at one of Elway's restaurants so Jake could see all the jerseys and photos. The kid was so excited he hardly ate. And that was before a certain Hall of Fame QB walked in, all keg-chested and pigeon-toed. Immediately, Jake turned into an ice sculpture.

We introduced them, and it took a few seconds before Jake could even stick out his hand. Apparently, 13-year-olds are not used to meeting gods.

Elway took the time to sign Jake's football and pose for a picture. He even made us all go outside, where the light was better. Then, as we said goodbye — Jake's feet floating a foot off the ground — Elway turned and said, out of nowhere, "Hey, why don't you guys come by the box today?"

And the next thing Jake knew, he was in John Elway's luxury box at the game, asking him any question he wanted, all with a grin that threatened to split his happy head in half.

Then Elway said, "Comin' to dinner?"

And suddenly Jake was having his lettuce wedge cut for him by the legend, who tousled the kid's cowlick. Like a dad might.

Halfway through the night, a guy came out of the bathroom and said, "Are you guys with that kid? Because he's in there talking to his mom on the phone, crying. Is he OK?"

Yes, Jake would be OK.

"Jake came back a changed boy," his mom says. He started climbing out of that hole. He started making A's again. Started loving football again. He told his mom, "When I make it to the NFL, I'm going to buy you a big house in Denver so you can come to my games."

And I ask myself: Why did Elway do all that? Maybe because his late father, Jack, was his best friend, too? Maybe because his own son, Jack, went away to college last fall? Or maybe because that's how he is. In my 26 years of knowing Elway, I've never seen him turn down an autograph request, a picture request, a "Can I just tell you something?" request.

A lot of athletes don't want the burden that comes with being a role model. But what I want to tell them is: You don't get to choose. You don't get to tell 13-year-old boys with holes in their hearts who can help them heal.

I know it's a hassle, but it matters. Because you never know when you might just lead a kid out to where the light is better.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rock and Roll

This video is simple, but it really gets it's point across

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm Gonna Fly On Down Then Fly Away On My Way

"Why dont we take a ride away up high
Through the neighborhood,
Up over the billboards and the factories
And smoke"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Summertime Clothes

I've been thinking a lot about things that I want to do this summer. This very possibly may be mylast summer in Rexburg, so I really want it to count. Lots of good friends are staying and lots of good friends are coming back. I'm really excited for the possibilites. 
Here's a little list I've come up with. . . (and some things that were on last years list that we never accomplished because it was too cold)
  1. Spend lots of time on the roof of the Thai Restaurant Apartment 
  2. Go to Yellow Stone
  3. White Water Rafting (If we do it through the school then its not that expensive)
  4. Ride Bikes (as a gang, weather permitting) every day
  5. Fly Kites
  6. Water Kick Ball
  7. Float The River
  8. Slip n' Slide
  9. Christmas in July Party
  10. Go to a Rodeo
  11. Camping (not on the side of a mountain and only when the weather is nice)
  12. Cinco De Mayo Party
  13. Croquet with Party Beverages
  14. Sasquatch!
  15. Multiple Chuckers Games
  16. Mesa Falls
  17. Craters of The Moon
  18. Go fishing at least once with Wayne and Jared
  19. Road Trip To Canada 
  20. Start a successful Gang and have a rival Gang
This list is open to suggestions and/or additions

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For Emma, Forever Ago

This video is amazing. It's 8 minutes long, but well worth your time if you watch it. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

"That's why I'm sayin' Baby don't worry cause now I got your back. And every time you feel like crying,
I'm gonna try and make you laugh. And if I can't, if it just hurts too bad,
then we will wait for it to pass and I will keep you company
through those days so long and black.
And we'll keep working on the problem we know we'll never solve 
Of Love's uneven remainders, our lives are fractions of a whole."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Don't Got A Lot A Time, Don't Really Care

Oh! The Winter. What do I do? 
I walked home from church Sunday, because both my roomates had meetings and I didn't want to wait. It's a twenty minute walk from the chapel to my apartment. As I was walking I realized that was the most time I've spent outside since Christmas. 
I've downloaded like 73 albums since December 18th. Music Blogs have ruined my life. . . in a good way.
I've listened to Bon Iver a lot. I think it has something to do with the weather. The whole album reminds me of winter.
I've started reading books, but haven't finished any of them. I will though
I hang out at Nadia, Leah and Erica's apartment a lot. We all just sit around and talk
We have a Furby son named Furby. A lot of time has been spent caring for him. 
I sleep on an air mattress. It's really comfortable though, like for serious its the best sleep I've had in a year. 
I think I might like water. . . 
I've trying to exercise at least 3 times a week, so far so good. 
I bought two books yesterday for three dollars at Hastings. 

I think that's about it. It's been a really uneventful winter. But I'm ok with that. I'm actually really happy with it. I've got good friends. I'm excited to see every one that is coming back for the summer too. I do miss my family some time. It was good to talk to them on Sunday. Blog!