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There are some events in life that meet your expectations. Others fall short. And then there are those that exceed expectations.
Those that exceed expectations usually catch you by surprise. They are often events that are viewed with little regard and are sometimes attended out of some sense of duty or obligation. Exceeding expectations isnâ€™t much of a challenge when expectations are low.
A few years ago, I had the privilege and pleasure of attending my first Ed Block Courage Awards banquet. My expectations were high and the vibe in the hall was electric. I wondered if the hosts and esteemed recipients could deliver upon the promise of the event. The anticipation was exhilarating.
Each NFL team was represented by an athlete selected by his teammates because they serve as inspirations in their locker rooms and constructive role models in their communities. They were players who had overcome devastating injuries or personal tragedies. They persevered and weathered the off the field adversities that confronted them and still performed at high levels on the field.
The stories of courage tied to the honored players were captivating. We hear so often about their on field accomplishments and we look up to them because of their world class athleticism. We also hear all too often of off the field transgressions. The arrests, the drug and weapons charges and the domestic incidents apparently make for better news. Maybe the shock value makes for more marketable drama.
But drama isnâ€™t the theme of an Ed Block Courage Awards Banquet â€“ inspiration is.
You canâ€™t helped but be moved. The banquet eventually ends but the stories will resonate. Once youâ€™ve attended, you will want to return again and again to discover new heart warming tales of good deeds and perseverance.
And perhaps the best news of all â€“ the children benefit.
The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation promotes the prevention of child abuse by raising awareness of the epidemic and assisting agencies who provide for the care and treatment of abused children in communities throughout the National Football League (NFL). The ultimate goal is to provide opportunities for abused children to reach their highest potential and end the cycle of abuse for future generations.
Do yourself and these children a favor and attend this event. Watch ESPNâ€™s Rachel Nichols present players like Corey Ivy, Zach Thomas, Deuce McAllister, Carson Palmer, Rex Grossman, Frank Gore, Reggie Wayne and Kurt Warner with their Courage Awards. Be there to support Rex Ryan when he is acknowledged by Pro Football Weekly as the Assistant Coach of the Year; cheer on Johnny Holliday just as he has done for the Terps all these years when he is enshrined in the Baltimore, MD Sports Media Hall of Fame; be there to hear Vince Papale share the life story that inspired the movie Invincible.
It is likely to make an indelible impression on your life while helping the abused children of the 17 Courage Houses like St. Vincentâ€™s Center. Together we can help give the kids a chance to succeed before itâ€™s too late.
This is an event that defines the human spirit.
It is one of those rare instances when high expectations are actually surpassed.
If youâ€™ve been to the Ed Block Courage Awards, you already know this.
If you havenâ€™t, you owe it to yourself to learn it.