My Hero

family Aug 30, 2023

Let me tell you about my brother. Life has not always been easy for him. As the younger brother, he caught the typical grief and grew up in the shadow of an older brother who cast a fairly large one. He was the kid who had to wear Husky jeans and had glasses that made him look like Ralphy from A Christmas Story (Sorry Mom, it wasn't "the style" back then...). On more than one occasion he was labeled strombolone (Italian slang for "clumsy") by loving members of the family for any number of the hilarious stories we have about being what he calls the "one in a million kid" (if there's 1 chance in a million it will happen, he's the 1...and not in a good way typically). Basically, he didn't have it easy. And school was hard too. He worked hard to get decent grades and my parents were supportive of him but, again, he had this older brother...

My brother has only ever wanted to play football (well, he did want to be in the WWF at one point). He loves it and has since the first time he put on pads and my father gave him the hardest hit of his life. After working hard thru school and football (we had a coach that told him he'd never amount to anything), he managed to get offered scholarships to several D2 schools. They were good ones and would have provided him with a great education but they weren't Division 1. So he walked on at Rutgers instead and made a deal with the coach; I make the team and you get me on scholarship next year. Done. He makes it and has it all lined up but the head coach is let go at the end of the season and the scholarship deal disappears with him. Round #2. New coach, same deal. Fast-forward several years (eventually he did get the scholarship and made quite the splash in the Big East as an offensive lineman and discus thrower) and he goes to the Cleveland Browns undrafted, works his butt off, and ultimately ends up winning a Super Bowl and going to the Pro Bowl 3 times with the New York Giants. Hard. Damn. Work.

I tell you all this to help illustrate that hard work and determination will get you what you want. I look up to this guy...both literally and figuratively...because he knows what it takes to get to where you want to go. Determination. Focus. Willpower. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't.

He's my hero. And I'm blessed he's my brother.