Definitely my Sports Person of the Year
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    Cool Definitely my Sports Person of the Year

    Definitely my Sports Person of the Year
    By Mike Imrem
    Daily Herald Sports Columnist
    Posted Sunday, January 01, 2006

    On Monday, Aug. 1, Terrell Owens arrived at Philadelphia Eagles training camp wearing military fatigues.

    On Tuesday, Aug. 2, a young man named Dan arrived at Buffalo Grove Golf Course wearing civilian clothes.

    One of them is my 2005 Sports Person of the Year. Care to guess which?

    Dan — sorry, I didn’t get his last name — didn’t hit a single home run, score a single touchdown or dunk a single basketball all year.

    But he did hit a golf ball, albeit mostly on public courses rather than the PGA Tour.

    For the record, Dan is in his early-to-mid 20s, a big guy with bright blond hair, a resident of Park Ridge.

    He’s a decent golfer, not great. Like too many, he hits it far but wide. As Hawk Harrelson likes to say, right size, wrong shape.

    Anyway, on the golf course — and at ballparks and soccer fields, supermarkets and dance clubs — it’s easy to forget young people like Dan are serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    He was my reminder.

    A couple times a week during the summer, I walk on at Buffalo Grove to suffer through nine holes. I might wind up playing with men, women, seniors, juniors, whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics … any stranger who will tolerate my game.

    Last summer I already had played with a grandfather whose grandson was in Iraq. And with a woman carrying a cell phone because that was the time of day her serviceman son might call.

    This particular morning, the group consisted of only Dan and me.

    After a few holes, I asked whether he went to school. No, he didn’t. I asked what he did for a living. He was out of work.

    Then Dan said he had returned a few months earlier from his second tour of duty in Iraq. The first time the National Guard sent him there. The second time he volunteered.

    Now Sgt. Dan — not to be confused with the fictional Lt. Dan in “Forrest Gump” — was back home looking for work, preferably in construction.

    I stood over my ball, thinking it would be nice if he were offered a job by one of the patriots who smack “Support Our Troops” stickers on their cars.

    Regardless, the big thing is Sgt. Dan made it back alive. He said he’s physically healthy, other than the impaired hearing for which he receives $200 per month.

    Dan did recall mortars routinely striking his base camp. He added that explosives hit his Humvee three times.

    “That’s why I like it out here,” Sgt. Dan said of the quiet golf course.

    Meanwhile, I was thinking of the noise Terrell Owens made while showing up to play football the day before, and all the attention he received.

    Comparatively few people notice Dan. His discharge from the Guard was scheduled for November. I assume it occurred with less fanfare than did the fabled T.O.’s discharge from the Eagles.

    The intersecting images of Terrell Owens at football camp in military fatigues one day and Sgt. Dan on the golf course in civilian clothes the nextŠ…

    Well, they were enough to make a public-course golfer my 2005 Sports Person of the Year.

    Sgt. Dan reminded me of the men and women around the world who are important and the ones around sports who aren’t.

    By the way, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, I awoke to a radio report that 14 Marines were killed in Iraq.

    Ellie


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    Marine Free Member rb1651's Avatar
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    Sgt. Dan now has two votes.

    Ron


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