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Monday, December 27, 2004
by Frozen Tundran
It's scary, isn't it? I also was discussing Reggie recently, after not mentioning him for some time as he's not played for a while. I was on the Eagle's website yesterday wondering with trepidation if TO (Terell Owens) might make a miraculous recovery and be back for the NFC Championship Game like Reggie did for us once in an important contest.
I just wanna cry. I can't; I've been conditioned too well from a lifetime of environments where such things are not encouraged, but I'm sure I'd feel better if I could. I remember that movie they kept showing me as a kid that included Rosey Grier singing "It's all right to cry" and thinking that like Rosey, Reggie was a step above all of our misconceptions.
He could be a menace on the field, his bone-crushing tackles and sacks were what brought us to recognize him, but he was more than just another brute on the field. I heard earlier in the year that one of Favre's nagging injuries stems back to a sack by Reggie early in his career that has never healed and due to further trauma is responsible for him losing movement in his left shoulder nowadays. Yet, do you recall his last record-setting sack in the Superbowl? He coulda just crushed Bledsoe, but let him off easy and almost cradled him on the way down. I recall as a younger fellow being somewhat disappointed he didn't give Drew the (clean) whupping he deserved, but as that sack sealed it for us I guess he just rose above it all and did the Right Thing.
He was a gentle warrior, but a gamer to the end. I understood him not being able to endure retirement and going to the Panthers when there were no opportunities here--and I'm damn glad we let him. It was the combination of him leading the defense and Favre guiding the offense that led to the Lombardi Trophy being brought back to Lambeau---note none of them have or had won a championship before or since.
Which brings to mind his speech to the Wisconsin Legislature that proportedly denied him a career in broadcasting when his playing career was done. If you've ever heard that, try listening with a heart as good as Reggie's. He mighta used stereotypes that are no longer in use in such pristine places as Madison, Wisconsin; but what he was trying to say got drowned out by all the irrelvant noise. He was saying that we all had a part to play, the the Creator's plan was unknown and how people of all different kinds were of worth and had some part to play in the divine scheme of things. It was about as decent and innocent as you could get if you looked at it without malice in your heart.
In such mundane things as football, Reggie was a behemoth, but when it really counted he was a friendly, decent fellow of strong beliefs that might not have agreed with yours, but he would allow for your differences. He wouldn't change his mind, but he wouldn't make you change yours either--unless it desperately needed changing. He'd show you by example and shame you silently. I can't help but think that Reggie's influence mighta led in some part to Favre quitting drinking, but kinda doubt he ever confronted Brett about it back in the day. In another age the best description of a perfect gentleman was a man without vices, but who allowed for yours.
The world would be a better place with more people like Reggie White, and I can't help thinking that dying so young and so close to Christmas, that perhaps he was called home. I don't mean to offend anyone, or enrage them, but I personally hope that's what it was. I heard he was in a desperate search for a better understanding of God near the end and personally I'd rather believe he was one of those called early.
(Twenty-One Gun Salute)