At a time when much of the news related to athletes is of the negative variety, it is always heartwarming to know that some athletes are capable of doing something that transcends sports. It’s hard to open a newspaper or online news site without seeing sports stories about drugs, physical abuse, anger management issues or cheating. It makes one wonder what any of that has to do with playing sports in the first place. Unfortunately, bad behaving celebrities will always draw attention.
Then comes a story about a player like Quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, a story that reminds you some athletes are worthy of the hero worship that is bestowed upon them whether they want it or not. Some of them are exactly the kind of idols you want your kids to follow and
emulate in life.
The legend of Peyton Manning and his contributions to humanity continued over week one of the National Football League season. First, it is worth noting that Manning has a long and documented tradition of reading much if not all of his own fan mail. On more than one occasion, he has personally
found a letter that inspires him to take some kind of action. He has responded to some of those letters by helping someone or simply giving a moment of his time to say hey.
Now comes the story of Kari Barnett Bollig. Mrs. Bollig has been diagnosed with stage four cancer, which is terminal. For her it’s just a matter of time. One of the things she will certainly miss is following the career of her favourite football player, none other than Peyton Manning. You see, Mrs. Bollig is an Indiana girl who religiously followed the Indianapolis Colts where Manning spent the first 14 years of his pro career. Even though he is currently in his fifth year with the Broncos, he is still revered by fans in Indiana who appreciate his contribution to making that franchise one of the most successful teams in the NFL over the last 20 years.
Mrs. Bollig is one of those devout fans. In a recent interview with the Indianapolis star, she was asked what inspired her to write the letter that Manning read. Her reply was touching. “I have followed Peyton Manning forever, especially being an Indiana girl,” further adding, “I just thought, well shoot, I’m going to write him a letter and tell him how much he inspires me, not just because he’s a football player, but for what he does off the field.”
She had read other stories of Manning responding to some of his letters, but never imagined her letter would even be read. The letter reached its destination and it surely touched something inside of Manning who responded by flying Mrs. Bollig and her husband all the way to Denver as his guest for the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. They were treated to the flight and hotel accommodations, the traditional Saturday walk-through, a tour of Sports Authority Field and sideline passes for the game. And of course, she got to meet her host and hero. As he approached her, he reached out his hand and introduced himself as Peyton Manning. This brought a smile to her face as she replied that she knew who he was. After a personal conversation, they parted ways with his promise to pray for her.
For the cynics out there who might see this as a PR move, a man of Manning’s stature doesn’t need PR anymore. What he does, he does out of the care and respect he feels for others. In fact, he has been known to get more than a little embarrassed when these stories get out. Regardless, his actions come out of the goodness in his heart and the hope he can make a difference.
This article was written by Football aficionado John Hawthorne. As a gigantic fan of Football John is ceaselessly staying mindful of what really matters in life. When investigating about the news of his favourite sports sometimes he finds things not about the game itself but rather what the players do off the field to be the most interesting. John also contributes his insight into developing methodical Football wagering and helping people find a profitable betting system with Simply the Bets.