Best moment ever?
In a men's shower. Hours after he led his Denver Broncos to a stunning win over
Green Bay--ending his run of Super Bowl humiliations--I could hear John Elway
whooping and hollering, alone in the shower. "You know what?" I said to
the old towel guy sitting on the bench next to me. "That's the sound of
redemption. That's primal joy, man." He shrugged and said, "Nah, we ran
out of hot water."
Still, the big
names and big events weren't the best part of the job. The best part has been
my e-mail inbox. I seem to have become the national clearinghouse for stories
about people overcoming disease, war or tragedy to achieve great things--tales
of courage and resilience that would melt an executioner's heart.
I could tell only
a fraction of those stories, but the ones I did write have stayed with me. You
may read them once and forget about them, but I hear from my columns all the
time. They call, they write, they tell me that their lives just keep getting
Just one example
from this year: Do you remember Sean Cronk, the kid in Everett, Mass., with
cerebral palsy who could barely dribble but could make tons of free throws in a
row (SI, March�5, 2007)? He finally got into a game and won a playoff with
one. Well, he's going to go to college, thanks to the guy I wrote about the
very next week--billionaire Kenny Troutt, who flies his sixth-grade Dallas AAU
basketball team in private 737s. Troutt called Sean's mom and said,
"Anywhere Sean wants to go, I'm paying." So Sean is going to junior
college in the fall, with plans to transfer to UMass. Nice.
column, though, was not about one person but millions--the impoverished
Africans who benefited from Nothing But Nets, the antimalaria campaign you and
I started with the help of the United Nations Foundation (SI, May�1,
2006). Every week I hear about another kid donating his bar mitzvah money, a
Brownie troop sending its lemonade profits, a family choosing nets over
Christmas gifts. We're at $16�million, and much of that has come in
twenties and fives and even rolls of quarters. Nobody does teamwork like sports
Anyway, it's been
my privilege to write for this elegant magazine and its wonderful readers. Now
I'll find out if my little voice can carry in a whole new way. You can reach me
anytime at RickReillyonline.com, and beginning June�1, I'll be starting a
new job, which includes writing a column and working in TV. Of course, when I
told my son Jake that, he said, "Dad, it's not gonna be high-def,
Right. And I
promise not to turn purple, either.
TALK BACK If you
have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to email@example.com.