(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, August 11, 2013

An American Original Passes Away

And some of the best things about him was that he was kind, generous and humble.  

His name:  Dick Kazmaier.  I won't write more about him, as the writing in the linked piece is much better than I could muster.

A friend was at a Princeton alumni event once.  He himself had played football at Princeton, albeit thirty years after the Heisman Trophy winner did.  My friend was recruited by big-time schools, but went to Princeton instead (something about getting the chance to play quarterback along with the academics).  He and a few classmates of his were talking to this very nice older alum, who shared his experiences about attending Princeton, studying there and playing sports there.  The conversation lasted about a half hour, and not once did the older gentleman talk about his own accomplishments, which were vast.  It was only at the end of their conversation that the men exchanged handshakes and caught each others' names, with the older gentleman offering his name last.  "It's nice to meet you," he said.  "My name is Dick Kazmaier."

My friend walked away from the conversation about as impressed as he'd been from a conversation.  For it's not every day that you meet a legend, and it's even less frequent when the legend exceeds what you might have thought he would have been like.

It seems like with many of his actions, Dick Kazmaier grew his legend through a form of everyday greatness that we do not see enough of.  It wasn't like he was anointed from the start; he joined a great program as fifth on the depth chart at his position, applied himself, and then broke out as a star.  Through it all, through what he did, through the little things, he showed how special he really was.

P.S.:  I was away on vacation when the news of his passing reached me, but I would have been remiss not to mention it in these pages.


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