Did you ever look up to a sports figure? I think the word ‘hero’ is a bit strong for sports personalities; I think hero fits people who are special for many other reasons and they come in all ages and abilities. Sports personalities have God-given talent. I’m not saying they don’t work hard, they do; but I like the underdogs who capture our imagination.
Surely the reason I’m a Jets and Mets fan I’m sure.
One of my favorite players of all time was a player for the NY Jets and he was also a graduate of my alma mater, Hofstra University.
His name is Wayne Chrebet.
You do not have to be a football fan to like Mr. Chrebet’s grit and determination. He was not a draft pick and in fact, was cut the first day when he was invited to tryout as a ‘walk-on’ for the Canadian Football League. Worst yet, he was a walk-on try out attendee again for the NY Jets and when he attended camp, he was stopped at the gate by security because the guard could not believe that someone his size would even be considered.
Not be deterred, Mr. Chrebet continued his incredible work ethic and not only made the team, he played for 11 straight seasons becoming the second most accomplished Jets receiver in history and 5th all time in yardage from the line of scrimmage. He was voted by the Jets’ Alumni as 2001 Jets Player of the Year and in 2005 he was awarded the Ed Block Courage Award by his team mates.
In November of 2005 he would sustain a hit so hard that it would end his career. Despite being unconscious for minutes; he had completed the third-down catch for a first down as was his typical style.
By his size and weight, Mr. Chrebet had no business playing in the NFL by so many standards. But there was one standard the NFL did not have……..Wayne Chrebet’s standard. His determination was so great that ‘no’ was just not an option.
He became a fan favorite and on Sundays during football season it is VERY common for me to be wearing a #80 Jets’ Jersey to this day.
So if you or your child are facing absolute incredible odds at something, remember Wayne Chrebet. No he did not have diabetes but he had other hurdles needing to be leaped over; and leap he did. He will probably never enter the NFL Hall of Fame; but for 11 seasons he did something that many thought could never be done; held his own in the NFL despite so many obstacles. “NO” is just not a word Mr. Chrebet acknowledges. We can all learn something from that point, can’t we?
To this date, no other Jet has been issued #80 again.
I am a diabetes dad.
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