Of sports and soldiers

Apr 252004
Authors: John Teten

Get to know me and you’ll find out, I’m a weird kind of guy.

To name of a few of my idiosyncrasies: I own footy pajamas. You

know the kind you rocked when you were six, complete with treaded

soles and a zipper along the front? Yeah, I own a pair.

Whales scare the poop out of me. I freak out when the whale pops

out of the water in “Castaway” and I can’t look at pictures of them

or I get all shaky.

I wear my hat to the tilt, not because I’m cool, but because I

have a misshaped head.

But most of all I’m odd because too often my priorities get all

out of whack.

The other night while enjoying a $2 pizza at Old C’s someone

asked me about the NFL draft and my heart lit up. I was so excited

to enlighten someone on the Eli Manning drama.

“You see,” I began, as the sports Guru of the table, “Eli said

he didn’t want to play for San Diego, but would prefer to play in

New York, but San Diego had the first pick, but they wanted to

trade it, but then they drafted him, but then, but blah blah


When I got home that night I began to ask myself some questions.

Why are sports so important to me? Why was explaining that

situation so enthralling?

You see, like so many hot-dog eatin’ sports fanatics, I lose

sight of a lot of truths out there. I start thinking about the Red

Sox’s latest romp over the Yanks and how Mike Vick is Clark Kent

and I lose sight of guys like Pat Tillman.

I lose sight of his brothers and sisters in arms protecting


Tillman died on Thursday while serving for the military in

Afghanistan. Though he desired to fit in and not stick out, you

couldn’t help but notice him. His service was no more honorable,

his life no more valuable, but he definitely stuck out.

Tillman left a $3.6 million NFL contract behind and joined the

armed forces. Much like his style of play for the Arizona

Cardinals, Tillman went all out. He became an Army Ranger.

He didn’t whine about which team drafted him, he didn’t hold out

for a bigger contract, he quit football to serve the country he

loved. He turned down millions to serve you.

Whether you agree or disagree with America’s military actions,

it’s tough to deny that our soldiers are overlooked heroes.

People like Pat Tillman remind me that not everyone is as weird

as I am.

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