First, my brother and his wife decided to buy some tickets for the big game Sunday. They are flying to Milwaukee and heading to the game. She's from the area, never been to Lambeau,and never seen Favre play in person. My bro is a New Yorker and big Giants fan. They will be there flying the respective colors for their teams. Go Giants! Harumph, Harumph...
All these leads into my being a Giants fan and why I love the New York Football Giants. I've been a Giants fan a good thirty plus years, don't recall when it started exactly. I just know that I watched Joe Picarcik fumble live on TV. I know I went to a Giants Eagle game in like 1978 at the Meadowlands. Well I think you get the idea but I what I really need to mentio, what made me a Giants fan for life. It's not LT, the Super Bowl winners or Phil Simms although they have brought me much happiness.
Perhaps I should say who made me a Giants fan for life. A classy man who's contribution to New York and the NFL were remarkable. A selfless, generous family man named Wellington. I was lucky enough to meet him through a charity that my father was involved with years ago. The charity was just getting started and the Giants were a valuable contributor and instrumental in getting it started because of Mr. Mara.
I was 14 or 15 at the time. I had kind of forgotten the story but I asked my dad when Wellington died a few years ago and he confirmed what I thought...
I meet Mr. Mara a few times but one of the last times I ever saw him he introduced me to a man named Alan Ameche. Yes, the Iron Horse. The Alan Ameche who had scored the winning TD against the Giants in one of the most famous games in NFL history. Mr. Mara had invited Mr. Ameche to a dedication ceremony for the charity. Anyhow, I was introduced to Mr. Ameche, a very nice, kind man. He was larger than life eventhough he was "middle aged".
Here I am, 15 year old or so, IrishNY, talking to Mr. Mara and Mr. Ameche and the subject of Mother Theresa comes up. The conversation was about charitable endeavors, good people, something along those lines. Mr. Mara mentions that Mother Theresa is visiting NY and staying in the South Bronx at the time. Mr. Ameche says what an honor it would be to meet her etcera.
Well, the next thing you know Mr. Mara has made a few calls and made arrangements for Alan Ameche to go meet Mother Theresa in the South Bronx. For some reason, Mr. Ameche had to go right away and Mr. Mara was unable to go with him.
Mr. Ameche approaches my dad and I, asks would you like to go with us? My dad is unable to go. Like I said before, I didn't remember the exact details for awhile and had to get grandpa IrishNY to verify. I guess it was such an unexpected and surreal experience.
Anyway, my dad can't go but says, hey kiddo, would you like to go with Mr. & Mrs. Ameche? This is unreal. I think. Well, it is the South Bronx and this is back in the day when it was kind of dangerous but Mr. Mara has arranged it all, Mr. Ameche is still a big, strong guy although he seemed more the gentle giant type. A car service is going to take us there and back home or I should say drop me at home and bring the Ameches to their hotel. I honestly don't remember where Mr. Ameche and his wife were staying because the car dropped me off after we met Mother Theresa and I never saw them again.
One thing I will never forget though is how kind and generous Wellington was to the charity and what a gentlemen he was to Alan Ameche a man who had scored a famous TD that certainly disappointed the Giants and the Mara family tremendously. I think I even asked them about it because the subject certainly came up as I recall looking at the Mr. Ameches NFL championship watch. Yes, they didn't get rings in the 1950's.
So, there you have it. My New York Giant fanhood was sealed for life. A kind man with class and dignity had given me a once in a lifetime opportunity. The memories of games are there, fun times, disappointing times. You know the average life of a fan but I will always associate the Giants and the Mara family with class and dignity....
I desperately hope the New York Giants win on Sunday. I am very excited to watch the game. I will be with family and friends so win or lose, I will have fun and be grateful for all the I have and try and act with an iota of the class that Mr. Wellington Mara had. Go Giants!
Sunday game day - NFC Championship - Giants v. Packers - My brother and his wife made it to Wisconsin. Snow in Atlanta almost messed them up and caused them to have to drive 14 hours.
An addendum to my story: Mr. Ameche, his wife and I got to the South Bronx were ushered into a room and had an audience with Mother Theresa for about five minutes. What a great experience! Again, thanks to Wellington Mara. I'm sure that Mr. Mara would be very proud of this Giants team for sticking together and exceeding expectations. Win or lose, I am proud of the Giants as well. I want them to win though. I would be lying if I said otherwise. Go Giants!
Super Bowl Sunday - Also, my wife's birthday! It's game day. Time for Super Bowl XLII. The New York Footbal Giants are playing the undefeated 18-0 New England Patriots. The Giants have had a great run through the playoffs...will it continue? It will be a tough task beating the Patriots today but we will see soon enough.
I hope it's a great game. My family is going to have a fantastic day and I will still love the Giants no matter what happens...
Roll on, Big Blue. Go Giants!