Monday, October 18, 2010

A Knight's Long Journey

Football is not a contact sport. It is a violence sport. I say that not judgmentally. Hell, I am an enormous fan of football. It is not even an original observation but something I have heard said on too many occasions to count by the commentators who are paid to broadcast both NFL and NCAA games. Thankfully for those who play it the violence comes most frequently in staccato bursts and more often than not appear to leave the players none the worse for wear.

We have had season tickets to Rutgers football for the past four seasons. While I do not make every home game, I have seen enough of them during that time to develop not simply a rooting interest in Coach Schiano's troops but an appreciation for the way in which he, his coaches and his players have a relationship that appears to be more familial than professional. Win or lose, from my perspective as a fan the manner in which he relates to his kids and the manner in which his kids carry themselves on the field and off makes them a group that is extremely easy to cheer.

Saturday afternoon, while playing against Army, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand sustained a spinal cord injury. As of last night, the medical reports out of Hackensack University Medical Center were that LeGrand had undergone emergency surgery and was paralyzed from the neck down. The prognosis for him as of this moment is uncertain. Hopes are high. Prayers are plentiful. Good wishes abound.

In the past several years the motto of Coach Schiano's program - his mantra - in fact has been, "Keep Choppin'" He preaches it to his kids and they preach it to each other. From our vantage point up in Section 221, we have seen that they practice what he preaches. Now Eric LeGrand needs all of the help we can muster. To summon his inner Paul Bunyan and ours.

The woods are deep and thick these days. The easiest way to clear them is to chop one tree at a time. Keep choppin' Eric. Keep choppin'.


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