Making A Few Minutes For Mr. Lattimore

If we’re friends on Facebook, you may have noticed I attended Marcus Lattimore’s “Happy Birthday/Get Well” party Monday afternoon.   As I approached the event, I was more and more impressed with every step.

Here’s where I’m coming from with this.  I loved my four years at USC, and thoroughly enjoy living so close to campus (about two blocks).  I attend almost every home game (or in a parking lot somewhere), and casually attend away games.  That said, I don’t pretend to be near the die hard football fan many of my friends are.  However, this Marcus Lattimore episode has bothered me, big time.

Admittedly, I haven’t been to every game this year, and (regretfully) didn’t attend “College Game Day” at The Horseshoe when ESPN was here for the UGA game.  I did feel compelled, however, to attend this event for Marcus.  After all, given the venue was four blocks from my office, how bothered would I have truly been if I didn’t get off my a** for a few minutes to celebrate this young man who has now given two knees, perhaps to the the peril of a multi-million dollar contract to our Alma mater?  It just didn’t make sense to me not to attend, and I’m glad I did.

I think it would be awesome if he could tote the ball for the Gamecocks again, but in the grand scheme of things Gamecock football isn’t what’s on the top of my mind.  The #2 thing that was stuck in my head was his future, or lack thereof, at the next level of football.  Ugh.  Just, UGH!! The pics/video of his mother compounded this exponentially.

On Sunday morning, however, the thing that bothered me so much is the vision of Marcus sitting up on the field (before the trainers arrived to lay him down) looking down at his leg.  If you remember, the time between the end of the USC vs. Tenn game and the next day, rumors were swirling that his femur was broken, all four ligaments were torn apart, and that his athletic career was over.  Again, I couldn’t shake the vision out of my head imagining the thoughts Marcus must have had looking down at his mangled leg.  Once again, the video of his mom watching was just heart ripping.

By 2:00 PM on Sunday, we heard at least a hope of good news. This made things marginally better, but leading up to that had us all welling up in our chests for the young man.

I’ve never met Marcus Lattiimore, and may never.  However, for the reasons above (and that I’ve heard time and again that he’s an awesome human being) I wanted to drop everything today to attend this particular event, even for a few minutes.

The pic above is a quick snapshot of the crowd around 5:15ish.  I wish I’d thought to bring the fish eye or wide angle lens, as the pic doesn’t do the scene justice.  I have no idea how many were in attendance, but at the time I snapped this shot, Gamecock/Lattimore fans were still walking up the brick side walk in droves.

Side note: What the University of Tennessee did on Saturday afternoon was first class, and still has folks all around the country spellbound.  Like everyone else, I’ve never seen that before and it speaks volumes to the admiration Marcus Lattimore has nationally.  I especially was impressed how a few of the UT players made their way all the way up to the cart.  It was a gruesome scene for Marcus Lattimore, but a grand theater of sportsmanship.

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