August 17, 2017

Tom Brady and God’s Warrior

My choices for the two greatest quarterbacks in history of University of Michigan football. The quarterback on the right is well known to all football fans now. Tom Brady’s rise to greatness, his “defiant rise,” is shown in an ESPN documentary “The Brady 6.” The quarterback on the left isn’t shown throwing a football. He never completed a pass in a Michigan game. His name is Randy McConnell and a knee injury his freshman year at Michigan compelled him to leave Ann Arbor and take his game to Vietnam. His warrior athlete ethos, in the ugliness of a war ripping apart both Vietnam and America, is shown in Keith Famie’s documentary “Our Vietnam Generation.”

Tom Brady has three Super Bowl championships. Randy McConnell has two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, and seven Purple Hearts. A lot of great players have gone through the Michigan football program, including another great warrior athlete, Gerald Ford. Tom Brady, the Super Bowl champ, and Randy McConnell, God’s warrior, took very different paths. Their defiance and refusal to abandon their mates put them among the greatest for all generations.

The 2011 Warrior Games were just completed at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center.

U.S. Air Force photo taken by Airman Christopher Griffin

Here’s a passage from a classic Ben Stein column on who are the real stars. Stein also has a book about the Real Stars:

“The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish
weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after
two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and
stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists. We put
couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our
magazines.

The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand
on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near
the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor
values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that
who is eating at Morton’s is a big subject. There are plenty of other
stars in the American firmament….the policemen and women who go off on
patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive. The
orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible
accidents and prepare them for surgery, the teachers and nurses who
throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children, the kind
men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards. Think of each
and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade
Center as the towers began to collapse.”

Mitch Albom has a column in the Detroit Free Press about a homeless Navy vet who died on the streets and gets his last wish to be buried at sea…

Rocky Bleier is interviewed on ESPN about his experience in Vietnam, and coming back from a grenade wound to play on four Super Bowl winning teams for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pat Tillman is remembered in this video. Tillman left Arizona Cardinals to become an Army Ranger and was killed in Afghanistan.

“America’s Pastime Goes to War” in this special by Stars and Stripes about baseball and the military. More than 4,000 baseball players had their careers affected by World War Two.

From a Flint Journal article on “Our Vietnam Generation” documentary, and this passage about McConnell:

“’But war was nothing short of horror.’

Just a month after serving overseas, the day after his 21st birthday, McConnell suffered his first war wound, burnt on the stomach from a white phosphorus grenade.

That was just the beginning.

Over the next six months, the Army sergeant endured some of the most grueling combat missions. He took bullets in his wrist, chin and chest.

But he refused to go home.

‘Every time, if it had just been an inch or two one way or another, it probably would have killed me,’ he said. ‘I must have been one of God’s warriors.

‘We were literally fighting for our lives. I had a squad and I just couldn’t, in good conscience, leave them.’

McConnell wasn’t even supposed to be at war.

He had dreams of finishing college at one of the nation’s most prestigious campuses and going on to play professional football.

He lost his full-ride scholarship at UM after a knee injury his freshman year so he volunteered for the draft.

The highly-decorated veteran is still haunted by the protesters who caught him off guard when he returned home, literally spitting on him when he arrived at the Detroit airport.”

Share

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin