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.

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