This weekend I got a chance to watch the ESPY Awards and was actually impressed with the ceremony itself, the fan voted awards and class of the athletes in attendance. The ESPY's are a great way to reward an athlete for their spectacular performance on and off the field. The fact that the fan votes for the winner of the award leads to athletes not only being rewarded for their accomplishments, but also being acknowledged by the fan for giving them memories and great feelings to live with forever.
Matt Ryan, rookie quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons received the ESPY for breakthrough athlete. Matt Ryan was drafted in 2009 after leaving Boston College early to start his professional career. Ryan gave Boston College a few great seasons and a boost in recruiting during and especially after his tenure with the Golden Eagles. Ryan threw a 62-yard touchdown with his first professional pass attempt and led the Falcons to the playoffs last season. Congratulations Matt Ryan, you deserve the accolades and we in Boston appreciate what you've done for us and appreciate you even more for being in the NFC.
As if it weren't enough for Michael Phelps to win a record 8 gold medals while swimming for the USA at the Olympics, Phelps walked away with 5 ESPY awards on top of that. Phelps was in two categories with Kobe Bryant, one being best male athlete, and topped him in both categories. Both times that Michael was at the podium, you could sense the nervousness about possibly saying the wrong thing while he was giving thanks for the awards. Phelps was also able to praise Kobe while he accepted the award for best male athlete, in a way letting Kobe know that he is a phenomenal athlete and deserved credit for everything he had done with the Lakers last season.
Phelps was not the only Olympian to walk away with an ESPY award as gymnasts, Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin won ESPY's for their Olympic games as well. The USA Soccer team also received the trophy for their performance against Spain in the Confederation Cup Finals. Landon Donovan accepted the award for the USA soccer team and oddly enough did not mention David Beckham (the a-hole, as Donovan stated previously) while thanking everyone for the award.
Super Bowl XLIII won the ward for Best Game and an entourage of Pittsburgh Steelers walked to the podium led by Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes. Holmes was the first to speak to the fans and thanks his teammates, the organization and the fans. In the back of my mind I was thinking, who is going to have enough class to mention the fact that they couldn't have won the award for best game if it weren't for the opposing Arizona Cardinals. Ben Roethlisberger then gave me new found respect for him as a man as opposed to as an athlete. Ben came to the microphone and made the statement I was waiting to hear. Roethlisberger said that the Arizona Cardinals deserved credit for the award as well for playing such an amazing game in the season finale, giving Kurt Warner and myself a reason to smile and appreciate Ben as an athlete and a stand up guy. He may have earned more respect from me in that manner, but rest assure he will be blasted once the playoffs roll around next season and the Steelers come to visit the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Jimmy V Award For Perseverance
Northern State University basketball coach, Don Meyer received the Jimmy V Award. Don Meyer was in a car accident that caused him to lose his left leg from the severity of the crash. Meyer was rushed to the hospital after the accident and received even worse news that he had cancer in his liver as well as other areas in his stomach. Don Meyer spoke for about five minutes and I listened to every word that came out of his mouth. After his accident and diagnosis, Mayer returned to NSU to coach in his wheelchair and was not only an inspiration, but a winner. Meyer's story and speech was so amazing and heart wrenching, everyone should take time to listen to it. Thank you for you inspiration Don Meyer:
I'd like to now take this time to offer you the chance to donate to The V Foundation for Cancer Research. I am in no way affiliated with the foundation and am not doing this for any personal gain. Cancer has touched many people in my family and cancer research is something that I would love to help provide for. As the saying goes, anything helps. Even if each reader donates a dollar or less, it's that much more money that will go toward fighting cancer. If you can't donate, do not feel bad about it, making you aware is just the first step. Thank you.
Thanks to beedubz for the picture at the ESPY Awards.