2014/06/27

We All Thought the World of Him – Tony Gwynn

Da Goddess @ 03:00

When I heard the news the other morning that Tony Gwynn had died, it felt like a little piece of all the goodness in the world was lost. Tony was truly one of the Good Guys. He was a talented ball player, that much everyone knows. But what they may not know is his amazing attitude wasn’t just for show; the man was simply a good-hearted man on and off the field. Instead of ending up in the newspaper embroiled in some scandal or for bad behavior, stories about him usually involved his kindness and generosity within his community.

At one point in my life, I lived practically around the corner and down the street from him. His home wasn’t surrounded by ten-foot-tall privacy walls or guarded by beefy security guys. No, he and his family were just another family in the neighborhood. My mom’s best friend at the time actually was one of his neighbors and she often remarked what a nice guy he was. No pretense. No “please don’t come over here, I’m famous…and therefore too busy to deal with you.” He’d wave. He’d offer to help you take your trash cans up your drive.

While other teammates were getting all sorts of press for refusing autographs unless you paid them or for swearing up a storm or throwing a temper tantrum (on field, off field, at nightclubs, at stores) or getting arrested for domestic violence, disturbing the peace, drunk driving, or drugs, Tony was smiling and laughing and doing things that made the world a better place. He remembered names; always took time to acknowledge friends, neighbors, fans, strangers; spent time helping a kid throw a ball properly; leading by example to teach others about the rewards of hard work and loyalty.

One of the best pieces I’ve read about Tony Gwynn was over on Deadspin by David Johnson. If you need a feel-good story for your day, this is the one. It also serves as a great reminder to each and every single one of us that being a decent human being isn’t just a concept, it’s something we should all endeavor to achieve.

Rest in peace, Tony Gwynn. Hope you got a comfy seat in the dugout!

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