DJ Newbill is a senior basketball player for Penn State University. He has been an outstanding player on a team that is learning to be great. Penn State lost a lot of really close games this year. The Nittany Lions lost their last game of this season yesterday to Purdue in the Big 10 Conference Tournament. They had two very improbable victories in the tournament before that season-ending loss. Incidentally, I follow this team because I grew up in central Pennsylvania very close to Penn State.
During his stellar basketball career, his mother passed away. That's tough to deal with at any age, but he was 20 when she died. It seemed to inspire him to new levels of greatness.
Following yesterday's loss to Purdue, however, is my reason for saluting him. Many of the victories that Penn State had were as a result of DJ's heroics. He is a strong young man who carried the team many times. After the loss, his last game in a PSU uniform, DJ, in tears, hugged his coach and mentor, Patrick Chambers, and then doubled-over, sobbing. It was a very emotional moment, and he allowed his emotions and tears to flow freely. In a society that teaches young men, especially athletes, to be tough and poker-faced, this was a stellar display of simple, honest human-ness. What a great young man! I expect his strong character will lead him to ever-greater heights of achievement.
So grateful to be human,
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