Jim Nance

20 08 2009

Jim Nance Card

These aren’t just players; these are people. 

One of my oldest friends recently brought to my attention the Patriots Hall of Fame induction of Jim Nance.  Nance was a two-time AFL All-Star.  He was the first player to eclipse the 1,400 yard mark in a single Patriots’ season.  He also still holds the highest yard per game average in Patriots’ history – a record he has held for 43 years.  These are amazing accomplishments and there is no doubt that Nance has meant a lot to the Patriots.  Jim Nance won’t be at the induction ceremony today.  He passed away in 1992.  His family will be there instead.  Football is a way of life, but it isn’t life.  Often we forget that after the big plays are over – these men are sons, husbands, and fathers.  I salute Jim Nance today for all he accomplished – on and off the field.

I feel very fortunate to still have my father’s presence, guidance, and laughter in my life.  We recently shared a chuckle over his “best gift ever” story.  My father grew up in Southwestern Virginia.  Following family harvests, he was often promised a bicycle.  When it didn’t arrive after a few years, he simply gave up and assumed it would never come.  One day, he arrived home from school and found a brand new bicycle sitting in front of the family store.  You have to hear how he tells the story – even after all this time.  “Oh man, it was nice!  It had everything – chrome and tassels!”  He even likened it to the iconic bicycle in the movie “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.”  My father’s mother died when he was nine years old so it is amazing that he found so much joy from events that took place only a short time afterwards.  In the true spirit of giving, he passed on his bike to a cousin when the family moved to New York City. 

Men might not be as emotional as women, but the passion my father had around this story tells me that a great gift affects everyone the same If you can, drop everything and go ask your father what his best gift ever was.  There is no time like the present!  Besides, it might give you some additional insight.  You’re the quarterback; I’m just here to protect you.




2 responses

21 08 2009

Great story about Nance. I had not heard of him and I live in Boston. Just Googled some stuff on him.

And my dad picked his first football which I thought was very ironic!!

25 08 2009

Hi KJ, Thank you for your moving story, in addition to learning about Jim Nance, it helped me recall one of the best gift giving/receiving moments in my life with some similarities to yours . Well, here it goes…

The story is set a long time ago (at least seems that way now  ) when my son was in 2nd grade and like most children of that age an ardent believer of Santa. He had learnt to ride the bicycle that summer, and was extra good that year, hoping that his wish for a new bike would come true that Christmas. I knew his favorite color was red, and like any parent, probably waited a little too long to buy one that season, for when I went to the store they had run out of the “red bike” I wanted to buy; they had on back order and was not to arrive till after Christmas.

Coincidentally that year was our turn to host the holidays (we take turn between us siblings. ) My son had his heart set on the bike, and on the day of Christmas, he along with a bunch of his cousins rushed down in the morning to see a pile of colorful wrapped boxes under the tree. Within moments I could see the disappointment on his face; I guess even an eight year old knows the size of the box needed to wrap a bicycle. Being a sportive kid, he put on a brave front smiling and opening his other gifts. After everything was opened and a complete mess of torn wrappings on the carpet, there was one small envelope that was still under the tree that caught his eye – he gingerly picked up the envelope (luckily I have all of this on video), and saw his name “Dave” written on it, more important his eyes lit up when he saw the sender’s name as “Santa”. With great apprehension he opened the envelope to read the words “Sorry Dave, I did not have time to make you a bike. I know you are very good this year, so I am making a special RED BIKE for you and sending it to Toys R Us, where you can pick it up soon. Be good, Santa”; a gift certificate was enclosed with the letter.

What followed was five minutes of screaming and jumping, and the joy that followed could not be expressed in words. If I could enclose a picture of that moment, it would complement yours on the STATS tab and would read “the joy of receiving.”

My son is grown up now, and anytime he thinks or we talk about the red bike, a big smile envelope his face – the memories are priceless!

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