Thursday, May 21, 2009

Randy Gradishar

Last night I had a truly special moment. Not Civil War related but a special moment for me. I got to meet Randy Gradishar, linebacker for the famed Denver Broncos defense "Orange Crush." Randy now works for the Phil Long car dealerships in their community outreach organization. They provide grants to non profit organizations that benefit children. My parents purchased a new Saturn a few months ago and the dealership invited them for a dinner with Randy. My mother was sick so I got to go instead.

Randy was one of my favorite players. My grandparents sent me a huge plush gorilla when I was around 4 years old. I named it Gradishar. I still fondly remember the Orange Crush defense of the late 70s and early 80s.

I must say that Randy is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Over the years I've meet quite a few Broncos and some have been nice guys and some were not friendly at all. Randy definitely is in the former category. Around town he is more of a celebrity than in other cities but he acts like he's your best friend, like he's not a celebrity of any sort.

I don't want to get into all the stats but Randy Gradishar should be in the Hall of Fame. If he had played in Pittsburg or Oakland or New York he probably would have been inducted years ago. But the Hall of Fame voters ignore Denver players.

Anyway, it was a great time and I just wanted to share my good fortune of meeting a childhood hero. Sometimes when we meet our childhood heroes we find out that they are not nice people but this definitely was not the case.

I had him autograph a helmet for me too. I'm trying to convince my wife to give it a place of honor on the mantel but don't think that'll happen. Oh well, I'm glad just to have it.

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