- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
2) He wonders when the two guys who tackled him will say they're sorry. "It's been a year and a half, and they've never come forward. I mean, I know they didn't mean to hurt me. I don't want to sue them. But it's kind of upsetting. I just think they should apologize. I think everybody would feel better."
Joe Kay did not go to Stanford the next fall. That's because he was working his butt off 12 hours a day in a rehab center in Phoenix, learning how to live with a body that only half worked. Here was a kid who once could recite all the presidents in 10 seconds now having trouble with an 8�4 flash card.
The bills have mounted like cordwood. Suzanne and husband Fred, a retired public defender, sued the Tucson school district for failing to provide enough security to control the crowd. Their son's bills "could reach a million dollars," says Suzanne, and she and Fred want the school district to assume some of the responsibility.
So you can imagine how it drives her crazy when people come up and say, "God must've had a plan for Joe."
"That's bull," says Suzanne, who has returned to teaching law after taking a leave to help take care of Joe. "God had nothing to do with this.... I have no interest in a God who would do that to my son."
But 19-year-old Joe Kay is like ipecac syrup--you can't keep him down. Two years behind schedule he starts at Stanford in about two weeks.
This Joe Kay isn't half as quick of feet or brain as the old one, but he's twice as determined. He still can't move his right wrist and hand, so he's going to play one-handed trumpet instead of sax. He'll write essays on a one-handed keyboard. He'll be The Fan, not The Man.
Let them try in Palo Alto the same as they tried in Tucson--it's impossible to make this kid feel sorry for himself. "I mean, it's pretty hard to sit here and discuss how terrible a life I have," he says, "when everything's been perfect for me my entire life, you know?"
Sometimes in sports we get it backward. The time people ought to be chanting, "JoeKay! JoeKay!" is now.
? If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.