It was just over two weeks ago that I sat in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field and began to cry. It was not because I was sad, nor was it because my beloved Eagles were losing. I wasn’t crying because I knew hockey season was non-existent and showed no signs of resuming any time soon.
The tears were like curtains upon my eyes because the Philadelphia Eagles were doing what was right and honoring the great Brian Dawkins for a career well played and life well lived.
There have been hundreds of stories written about B-Dawk leading up to his jersey retirement and even more after. But now, it’s my turn.
I have shared a couple of special moments with the Clemson product and nine-time Pro Bowl selection who spent 13 electrifying seasons making receivers’ lives hell in the secondary. The first of those occurred when I was just 13 years old and my brother was working at Eagles training camp. Back then, fans were allowed on the Lehigh campus to get autographs after the players ate lunch. Dawkins came out, immediately turned to my brother and said hello, and proceeded to chat with me for a few moments.
For that simple act and many, many more over the years, Dawkins should be viewed as a role model and someone every professional player and person should aspire to be.
So, why am I talking about the beloved former cornerback on a Philadelphia Flyers blog? Well, it got me thinking: who on the Flyers has made a similar impact on my life?
There is only one Flyer who I can think of that made a profound impact on my life, and that is current Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen. I’ve never met Dineen, nor did he have a stellar, Hall-of-Fame worthy career like Brian Dawkins, but it was the impact he made on and off the ice.
To me, Dineen will always be my favorite player (along with Rod Brind’Amour). The first game I ever watched (and attended) back in the 1990s, Dineen led the team physically and emotionally (he DDT’d some guy on the ice!). The Flyers were struggling at the time, but it didn’t matter — I was hooked on hockey from then on.
Sports play an interesting role in one’s life. For me, I live and breathe it, and that was aided by special moments from special players.
Which players have had a profound impact on your life?