Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Update From The Chop Shop

This Thursday, two months to the day after the on-field accident that has left him thus far paralyzed from the neck down, the injured Knight Eric LeGrand was reported to have had some feeling in his hands. Those who know about such things - a group whose membership roster most assuredly does not include me - responded to the news with an appropriately cautious tone. Appropriate not only because of the science involved, which is explained far more clearly and intelligently here than is possible here, but also because too often in everyday life the line between hope and false hope gets blurred. Even worse, occasionally it gets crossed. Hope is a powerful elixir. False hope is an immeasurably cruel beast. The question, "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is it something worse?" is not only rhetorical but one to which the answer is immediate and obvious.

But the road to recovery is built one tiny little paving stone at a time. Thursday's news was certainly not bad. And it came on what has perhaps been the best day the LeGrand family has enjoyed these past couple of months. The Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday that Eric Legrand is the winner of the 2010 Orange Bowl Courage Award. According to the FWAA, the award is presented to a student-athlete for displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or a physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship. I know not who the other candidates were for this year's award, which will be presented to LeGrand's family at the Orange Bowl on January 3rd but it certainly appears as if the FWAA has made an excellent choice. His coach, Greg Schiano, certainly thinks so.

RU's mantra the past several seasons has been, "Keep Choppin'", which symbolizes their intent to play to the whistle and to never stop trying. Outcome is beyond one's exclusive control. Effort is not. Like him - as I do quite a bit - or not it is an inarguable point that Coach Schiano's kids play hard game in and game out. They did so this season even after watching Eric LeGrand - one of their leaders - sustain a season-ending and life-altering injury. They won exactly zero games following their overtime win against Army on October 16. On December 16 they were reminded -as were we all - that football is after all just a game. Far bigger things are out there to be conquered and to be overcome than an opponent on a field.

Abraham Lincoln said to, "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing." Sage advice from a wise man who - if memory serves me correctly - knew very well just how important it was to keep chopping.

In the timeless words of Mary Lou, "Man the dope is that there's still hope." And right here, right now that is all that matters.

-AK

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