The Introduction, the inspiration
You don't often hear about football players who are good at mathematics and outstanding on the football field. You don't even hear enough about their compassion for others.
I have known several of them since I tutored some of the college players during the Sixties.
In fact, I met a retired Oakland Raider in college when he was sent to the math lab for tutoring. The young man who became an Oakland Raider would tell me, in so many words, that he may not talk mathematics but that he was thinking it.
I guess he meant he was thinking mathematically on the football field in order to decide what to do, when to do it, how fast to do it, and anything that had to do with the dynamics of his "cuts and jukes."
Good thinking on the football field is math and science related
All of it somehow was mathematics and physics or even aerodynamics (in action) since he seemed to have a high probability of being in the right place, at the right time, to catch the ball during his career.
Since I have traced the lives of several of those talented men who were deep thinkers and competitive football players, my advisory board supports me as I have initiated a project in honor of them.
Wellness and Wholeness after a life in the NFL
The project is called The WW House, where WW has two meanings. One meaning is "Wellness and Wholeness." The idea was inspired by former Oakland Raiders' prototype wide receiver, Warren Wells.
The second meaning will be announced at the Open House ceremony planned for Feb. 6, 2012 when my grandson becomes six-years old.
My grandson is already a gifted young football and soccer player. The only problem we have is his favorite team is the Cleveland Browns and mine is the Oakland Raiders.
But we will survive this little family feud between a grandma and a grandson.
Most of the talented former college and professional football players (near my academic, social, or community circle in Texas and Louisiana) had their strong points and their challenges.
In either case, there was always a circle of friends who encouraged them and supported their development throughout their lives and even into their senior years
Scholarship inspired by the spirit of the Oakland Raiders
The first scholarship was awarded a year ago today. It is named in honor of Ray Errol Whitlow.
Today is Whitlow's birthday, who played football for the University of Minnesota. He was roommates with Aaron Brown in college, who became a professional football player.
Brown played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Whitlow was injured in college and he did not make it to the NFL.
The first WW House Academic Excellence scholarship in 2010 was presented to Jonathan Neal White, a student at the University of Houston who is majoring in sports and science.
Today is also White's birthday. He was a running back who was one of the top football players in the Galena Park School District in Texas.
Whitlow was very good at the University of Minnesota, but he did not make it to professional football because of injuries in college. His failure to make it to the NFL was always in the back of his mind.
He, too, was a recovering alcoholic, who eventually adjusted and became a successful mathematics teacher, architect and minister.
Whitlow was also a scholarship recipient who graduated from Worthing High School, with a full scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota. He graduated with a major in architectural engineering.
Whitlow passed away several years ago. He became a mathematics instructor at Sharpstown High School in Houston.
He understood the challenges of a career in football and the pain and struggle of challenges that interrupted some great players' careers.
Good lives after football
Later in Whitlow's life he became an ordained minister while continuing to teach at a high school. He was a recovered alcoholic and he encouraged me by having many heated debates about the life of players after professional football.
Whitlow, my first cousin, strongly suggested that I never give up on some of the old-timers, one of whom was an Oakland Raider. So, we want to honor Whitlow for his compassion and belief that "a man can change."
He also argued with me that the strength of a support system made up of friends, family and associates is highly correlated with the chances of a man making a change in his life.
Inspiration drawn from many people
Inspiration for The WW House has been drawn from many people and many experiences. One such experience stands out in my mind.
Years ago, when the Oakland Raiders were at a high point, one of them sent a card and shared the name of an orthopedic surgeon who helped my brother named Ed.
Without that encouragement and card which had the autographs of most of the team back in 1970, my brother may have had a disability. My brother was in a serious car wreck with friends and he was only 14 years old.
So when I see my brother and how he walks straight, I think of the Oakland Raider. That act of kindness will always be remembered. The retired Oakland Raider was compassionate and sharing. He helped my family.
Dedication and Gratitude
I hereby dedicate the mission and efforts of The WW House to this retired Oakland Raider. It is my hope that the project will be fully developed very soon so that the retired Oakland Raider can attend the Open House.
The Open House ceremony, planned for 2012, will be a ceremony and testimony of "wellness and wholeness" for the lives of men who were injured, cut or had other circumstances that truncated their career.
It will be a celelbration of recovery and a renewed commitment to excellence. The celebration will be even more joyous if the Oakland Raiders get to the Super Bowl in 2012.
It will be a way of saying, "Thank you."
Go Raiders! And, may 2011 be a wonderful year just as 2010 was a better year..
Also, may all of those who are no longer active with the Raiders realize that we truly appreciate what they did for the team. We salute all who were on the roster in the past and those who are on it in the present who have made some type of contribution. We thank you.
We commit to helping others
And how do we thank you? By helping others, we transfer the spirit and inspiration of the Oakland Raiders, both past, present, and future.
The 2011 Awardee
The 2011 WW House Academic excellence Scholarship is awarded to A. Quavonne who will graduate in the top 10 percent of her class. She is a great athlete, too.
Her scholarship is in the amount of $4500. She will attend Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.
I am certain many of us are grateful to the Oakland Raiders for the inspiration and glee we have when they win games.
We transfer our joy to others by giving to others. Go Raiders! Go forward and commit to excellence is our word for the next generation.