Saturday, November 01, 2008

In honor of Sweetness

It has been pointed out by the Cranky Medium that this is the anniversary of the passing of one of the true greats in the field of sports: Walter Payton.

Not only was he a fine athlete, but Payton was also described by all who knew him as absolutely worthy of his nickname, Sweetness. During and after his sports career, he worked for a number of local and national charities and organizations, especially those for children. By a freak occurrence, I had the good fortune to attend an event at which he was a featured guest, only a couple of years before he left this mortal coil, and my impression, even from across the room, was that the legend was well-founded. He was a really swell guy.

But, I think, the greatest accomplishment in his life (and beyond) was that he was the primary reason my Pop forgave me my betrayal, my quietly supporting da Bearss over the Pack. I was supposed to be Starr struck, a Lombardi loyalist, a Favre follower for the rest of my life, but in my late adolescence I was lured away by the Windy City's hustle (their Shuffle, not so much, for all that Payton shone in it). I do not regret my choice (barring certain recent Super Bowl games).

Payton made it all right.

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