Thursday, March 7, 2013

With a Side of Rice....

This year in the Harbaugh Bowl (sorry, the Super Bowl) while not a fan of either team - and sick to death by kickoff of hearing Ray Lewis Renaissance stories - I rooted hard for the Baltimore Ravens.  Not only because 49er coach Jim Harbaugh has consistently revealed himself to be a petulant douche whenever things do not go his way and I figured his post-game reaction in defeat would be much more colorful than that of his big brother John (way to not let me down Jimbo) but also because of the presence of Ray Rice on the Baltimore roster.

Ray Rice has been incredibly easy to root for since he first arrived on the banks of the Raritan River to play football at Rutgers close to a decade ago.  But for Syracuse's decision to fire Paul Pasqualoni RU would likely never had ended up being Rice's college of choice.  Rice had committed to Syracuse and when the Orange canned their head football coach, Rice reopened his recruiting.  What he did upon his arrival in Piscataway was nothing short of spectacular.  During Greg Schiano's time at RU he recruited a number of outstanding players to play for him.  None better than Rice. 

Rice's talents on the field actually pale in comparison to his off-the-field accomplishments.  Among the causes near and dear to Rice is trying to do whatever he can in an effort to help stop the seemingly endless incidences of kids bullying one another.  Among the bullying reports that had caught Rice's attention was one out of Philadelphia.  In January a twelve-year-old boy named Bailey O'Neill, who reportedly was a long-term victim of bullying, was beaten up in the schoolyard of his school.  As a result of being punched in the face, Bailey fell to the ground and began suffering seizures and convulsions.  He was hospitalized.

This past weekend with their son never having regained consciousness, and with no brain activity detected, Bailey's parents removed him from life support.  He died on Sunday.

Ray Rice had spent the past two months developing a relationship with Bailey and his family.  He took the death of a young man he had referred to as his guardian angel very hard.  And he has vowed to do all he can to ensure that Bailey did not die in vain.

Experience teaches us that betting against Ray Rice is a fool's errand.  I have been rooting for him for quite a few years now.  Never have I wanted him to succeed as much as want to see him do so here.  Nobody wins unless everybody wins.

Game on.  Go get 'em Ray Ray....

-AK

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