LOMBARDI’S WAY: Ravens’ Brigance a ray of light in these hard times

Lombardi's Way LOMBARDI’S WAY: Ravens’ Brigance a ray of light in these hard times

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Our world today is splattered with bad news, from wars to illnesses to political strife; from racial tensions to tragic and unnecessary deaths. Some lost souls are so burdened by their financial woes they take not only their own lives but also the lives of those they supposedly love the most.

It is times like these that individually and collectively we must summon up strength fueled by inspiration and navigate these pressure packed moments gracefully. This is the essence of courage.

Instead of allowing difficulties to zap your energy and take the bounce from your stride find solace in what you have, in what is yours. Let the good in your life be your compass’ magnetic north and guide you through today’s turbulent waters.

Look around, inspiration envelopes us just waiting to tap our courageousness.

Many of us myself included will fret that which eludes us until our desires are force fed a healthy and necessary dose of humble pie. Witnessing the tragedies and misfortunes of others reminds us that maybe things really aren’t that bad.

And then every now we witness or are touched by the uncommon. Someone comes along – someone who struggles with something so dreadful yet through a display of uncommon selflessness they twist a personal tragedy in a near miraculous way and see it not as a debilitating burden but rather as a gift.

One such person is O.J. Brigance.

O.J. was once gifted with uncommon athletic ability. He was among the few in our world capable of competing in the National Football League. He was a champion as member of the Baltimore Stallions in the Canadian Football League and of course a champion as a member of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.

Today O.J. is a champion in the fight against ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

It has robbed O.J. of his physical strength yet it has not weakened his resolve, dampened his spirit or forced his heart and soul to atrophy.  If anything he is mentally more imposing and his heart and soul refuse to allow ALS to make his life less purposeful.  In fact O.J. embraces ALS in a way that gives his life more purpose than anything he has or could have accomplished on the field of play.

Life is now his gridiron and the determination he exhibits on his field is no less than that of Ray Lewis’ when he seeks to destroy ball carriers. In O.J.’s world that ball carrier is ALS.

Tomorrow morning at 6:30 runners of all kinds will gather at M&T Bank Stadium to raise money for the Brigance Brigade, O.J.’s foundation established to raise awareness and funds for ALS research and patient services. The 5K race begins at 8:00 am.

If you can’t make it due to the late notice it is certainly understandable. And if you can’t, please consider a small donation.  I know times are tough, just like they are for O.J. and all afflicted with this wretched, debilitating disease. Remember every single dollar counts.


Personally I’m upset with myself that I wasn’t on this earlier.  Yet in my heart and soul I know that the experience of running for O.J. will resonate forever and I will treasure the opportunity and privilege to spend even just a few moments with this inspiring man, O.J. Brigance.  Details of the event and how to participate or donate are provided in the links below.


In today’s world it is easy to lose focus and simply lock in on your own self-serving needs. Yet there is happiness all around us if we look closely enough particularly when we come together as a community and make it better.


We can learn from O.J.


Allow his courage, his graceful “walk” to inspire you to participate, to give or at the very least to be more appreciative of that which is yours.


It will make for happier days in these hard times.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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