I didn’t think this subjective survey would be a big deal, but I’ve gotten a lot of mocking ridicule for listing Vince Young as my favorite NFL and college football player of All Time. I’ve been clowned via Facebook and text, mocked on the SportsRadio 610 employee e-mail thread and my friend, Paul Gallant, even made fun of me on the air during his show.
So I guess I have to explain myself…
The reason Vince is my favorite college and NFL player of all time is simple: I believe that when you embrace an athlete for something larger than what happens on the field you shouldn’t bail on them when times get tough.
My parents met at the University of Texas, I was born in Austin and when my parents got divorced in sixth grade Texas Longhorn football was a bond between my father and me. We would take road trips to games, talked about it consistently and had amazing times during the resurgence of the University of Texas football program during the Mack Brown era.
Texas could never get over the hump early in the Mack Brown era and there were a lot of heartbreaking moments, many of them against Oklahoma, which I experienced with my father during our annual trips to The Red River Shootout in Dallas. When Vince arrived in Austin in 2002 he symbolized the guy that would get Texas football over the hump and that’s just what he did on January 4, 2006 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, an experience I shared with my father.
I didn’t have the grades to get into UT and ironically ended up graduating from Texas Tech, another school in UT’s conference, but I always remained a UT football fan because of what it meant to me personally.
In January of 2006 my dad and I took a trip to California and shared the experience of watching Young’s historic performance in UT’s national championship win over USC, one of the best days of my sports life, and a defining, satisfying moment in the bond between me and my pops. That moment wouldn’t have happened without Vince.
What happened during his NFL career is irrelevant to me because he symbolizes more to me than his on-field performance, that’s why he’s my favorite college and NFL player of All Time.
SOME FANS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES
My love for Vince is the same reason why Josh Hamilton is one of my favorite baseball players of All Time. Like many people, I embraced Hamilton’s story of addiction when he was one of the best players in baseball, but unlike many I didn’t turn on him when he began to show the bad characteristics of an addict.
Why? Because when you embrace an athlete for more than their on-field performance you shouldn’t bail on them when they struggle, especially when you’re embracing them for something like addiction where highs and lows are expected. That’s just awful.
Here is a piece of someone’s Facebook status survey when listing their favorite MLB player of All Time: MLB – Josh Hamilton (pre relapse).
To each is own, but that’s just bad character in my opinion. The fans who bought Hamilton’s book, praised the adversity he overcame when he was at his highest and then turned on him when he showed the negative characteristics of an addict are the worst.