As I was sitting with my husband last night, a fellow blogger and fanatical 'Skins fan, I realized I was watching something historical. Six great men were being honored for their contributions to the sport, in a way that so well represented their talent and ambition.
It was one man that personified class above the others. Even my favorite Redskin of all time, Darrell Green, did not create the kind of excitement witnessed by the large 'Skins contingent. Green got his due, but it was another guy who gave us reason to reflect on our glorious past. His name was Art Monk.
His speech was both engaging and insightful. Apparently, I was not alone in my opinion. In this pro-burgundy and gold crowd, his Hall of Fame career was celebrated in what seemed like a ten-minute break for the deafening roar of applause, as the 'Skins faithful kept on cheering their beloved brother.
To quote our Mr. October, "This is an awesome, awesome moment in my life, and I will never forget it." Neither will we sir. He deserved this day, a day that even he assumed would never come.
Let's name a few stats as to why Art is the legend that he is. 940 career receptions, over 150 catches for first downs. 13 years in the league, and five Pro Bowls to his credit. He was our Jerry Rice. If it was third and eight, and Theismann needed to keep moving the chains, it was he who made the catch, time and time again.
If he dropped the ball, it wasn't his fault, the ball came to the wrong shoulder or was thrown too hard. AM was simply marvelous at his job.
Goosebumps began to form when he began to reflect upon the years he spent away from his family, pushing to become more than who he was asked to be. His strong relationship with God gave him the strength to carry on, and follow the plan his Savior set for him.
All I can say is... If I were to raise a son, I would want him to be like Art. Disciplined, humble, and a team player. Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson are you listening?
There will never be another athlete who deserves this recognition more than him. We love you. Thanks for the memories and the hard work. You may not have been the flashiest receiver to ever play the game of football, but you are by far the most honorable gentleman to put on the uniform.
The road to Canton was far too long. So, long live #81. Catch ya later.