Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Rest In Peace Number Sixty Three

2011-09-07 - Selmon-67

Mourning the death of a person you have never met may seem odd to some, but it happens to a lot of us. I never had the privilege to meet Mr. Selmon or remember watching him play for my beloved and oft maligned Bucs because he retired when I was 2. That is not to say I did not "know" him or know how great of a person he truly was.

I have read all of his stats from college and the NFL as well as him being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 but that is not who I know. The person I knew took a few minutes out of his day to sign the back of a business card for a man's son who couldn't be there himself because he was 2 hours away in Gainesville. This simple act did more than he could ever know for a life long Bucs fan. It did more than solidify my appreciation of him as an athlete, it solidified my respect for him as a person and what he stands for. It brought my attention to the many causes that he selflessly supported in central Florida and reminded me that regardless of what is done on the playing field, more good can be done from the platform you are given to do good off the field. I hope and pray some of our young student athletes and professionals learn from Mr. Selmon as they grow.

One of the things that stood out to me about this autograph is the "Best Always" statement. I know that is probably how he signed most things, but to me it meant something. Growing up and even through law school I was always reminded to do my best regardless of how big or small the task may have been. Seeing this small card in my office is just one more reminder to "always" do my "best."

He had no idea the impact that simple gesture had on me, nor did he know that I proudly display it in my office. I distinctly remember looking at that card on Friday afternoon (the day of his stroke, and coincidentally my father's birthday). Looking at it again that day I thought how great it was and how I hoped to one day have the chance to meet him and tell him how much that card meant to me. Sadly I will never have that chance.

Mr. Selmon, your impact goes much farther than playing in the NFL or signing a business card for a fan and his son, it can be seen through the people you have touched and helped through your work off the field and through the person you were. Sadly, we lost you far, far too soon.

May you rest in peace.

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