A perfect phrase for the perfect play. Also...the perfect call, for the perfect player.
Like many of you I'm sure, just finished watching Storied "Herschel Walker". If you didn't get a chance, I won't spoil anything for you. I would simply urge you to see it the first chance you get.
Herschel was always a freshman. The term itself implies little perceived value, a person that with the right cultivation may grow into something the world can use. Herschel was bullied by peers growing up as much as he battered himself inside. He later chiseled himself into a premier athlete, a scholar and model young man. But for every hurdle Herschel cleared...even as the world began to marvel, with jaws dropped and voices raised...he couldn't stop to allow himself to bask in his own greatness.
Regardless of your feelings on dissociative identity disorder, and regardless of how true of a Dawg fan you believe you are, you have to recognize Herschel's struggles and his inner demons to truly understand who he is. Actually, scratch that. I don't know that anyone will ever truly understand who he is, but we can appreciate the road he has traveled a little better by witnessing his journey...by reading his book...by listening to him speak.
I was 11 years old when Herschel pulled into town. As my wife and I watched the documentary we basked in each replay, every piped in Munson call and each failed tackle. My God, a freshman! It began to dawn on me just how fortunate we are to have lived as Dawg fans during his time on Earth. Certainly, our kids will not see another player his equal. Perhaps their kids.
My oldest once asked me, "What's so special about Herschel Walker?" It may be a question you've scornfully received from a rival fan. But my girl's tone was one of innocence, wanting to understand the pictures on our walls and the feeling in my voice when I spoke of him. I remember stopping what I was doing, and just standing there. I didn't know how to answer that.
Of course, it would be easy to spout off statistics and memories of plays where he tangled with mere mortals. I could try to impress upon her the fact that he earned two Heismans he never received and once ran against the nation's toughest defense with a separated shoulder for 150 yards...2 touchdowns...a MVP honor...and a national championship.
But that doesn't truly answer her question. She continued to wait on my response and it eventually dawned on me that it was easier to start with what he is not.
My God, a freshman! A trait most of us share is one that has always eluded Herschel Walker. As a kid he was an outcast, to peers and grownups alike. By the time he surpassed everyone athletically and academically he had lapped everyone who was "normal". You see, even a normal football player takes the winter off from competition. A normal collegiate running back in 1982 stayed for his senior year of eligibility, even despite the fact that he had proven everything there was to prove by the time Bill Bates managed to get back on his feet in Knoxville. A normal retired NFL player eventually succumbs to a sedentary lifestyle.
Herschel Walker is not a normal person. I am thankful for that as a Dawg fan. But I'm in awe of it as a human being.