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9780375758218

Never Die Easy The Autobiography of Walter Payton

Never Die Easy The Autobiography of Walter Payton
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  • Comments: Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Possible ex library copy, thatll have the markings and stickers associated from the library. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included.

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  • ISBN-13: 9780375758218
  • ISBN: 0375758216
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

AUTHOR

Payton, Walter, Yaeger, Don

SUMMARY

The Greatest Bear of Them All The young man from Columbia, Mississippi, would have been shocked, maybe even a little embarrassed, by all the attention. He certainly would have been humbled. In the hours after Walter Payton passed away on November 1, 1999, something special happened to the world of sports. For one shining moment, people forgot the problems that plague sports todaydisrespectful athletes, teams holding cities hostage, out-of-control fansand focused instead on what is good about sports, all of which was embodied by that young man from Columbia. Few things can bring a city as vibrant as Chicago to a standstill. Fewer still are the things that can bring together a group of loosely organized people, a group like those involved in professional football. So forgive Connie Payton if she was, as she said, absolutely awestruck by the reaction that followed her husband's death. Sports fans will not soon forget where they were when they heard that the Greatest Bear of Them All was gone. A zealously private man, Walter Payton had left pro football nearly thirteen years earlier and had only rarely attended games and participated in NFL-related events. Walter had grown to believe there wasn't much more he could do for the game he once played. There weren't many players he admired and even fewer whom he enjoyed watching. The game, he worried, was in trouble because so many players didn't understand the value of team, didn't understand what it was like to have played in "his time" even though it was really not so long ago. Walter had worried there was nothing left he could give to the game. Nothing, Connie Payton found out, could be further from the truth. During the first few days of November 1999, coaches, players, fans, and broadcasters from across the country took time out to talk about Walter Payton and what he had meant to them. What he meant was not 3,838 carries, 16,728 yards, 110 touchdowns. What he meant was more than that. Those eulogizing him chose instead to recall a story about a time they saw him sign an autograph for a fan in a hospital, spend pregame time talking to those in the stands or cuddling a child handed down to him from the crowd. The grief and affection that flowed from all corners of America served as a billboard-size lesson of what the game once was and should still be. Yes, he held great records. Yes, his runs were often spectaculareven the runs that gained only a handful of yards. Yes, he was the most talented player of what many considered the most talented professional football team in the modern era. He showed that you could be a superstar and still be someone whom people could touch. He was down-to-earth, funny, always looking for a rear end to pinch. He loved to laugh, showing off that perfect smile, yet he wasn't afraid to cry. He was a man's man and every mother's dream. Payton had not just been a great football player, he had been a role model in an age when role models are in short supply. Most would agree that the death of almost any other player would not have hit lovers of football quite the way Walter Payton's untimely passing did. The league asked teams to fly flags at half-mast. Moments of silence were offered at stadiums from Buffalo to San Diego. Players remembered him by scribbling his name or number on their shoes. And while honoring him, those in pro football came together in a way that touched even the most hardened. Honoring his passing brought together the men who had played with and against him, the coaches who had tried to stop him, younger players who knew him only through video highlights, and fans, many of whom had never even seen him play. In that time of mourning, pro football rallied and became a community again. And maybe that was Walter's greatest giftnot his athletic talent but his unmatched ability to touch all those who came in contact with him.[read more]

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