It’s not uncommon for me to sit at home on my computer and watch old Hall-of-Fame speeches. I love the emotion. I am inspired by the words of wisdom and I am curious about the journeys of those who reached the absolute top of their profession.
I have been fortunate enough to interview two hall of famers right before their inductions. The first was the Buffalo Bills' Andre Reed when I worked in Buffalo. The second was the St. Louis Rams' Orlando Pace this past weekend.
In talking to these men right before they were recognized for their entire body of work with the highest possible honor, I realized that for them the moment was not so much about themselves.
Orlando Pace came from very humble beginnings in Sandusky. He was raised by a single mother. Being the largest kid in his class, early on he was insecure about his size. Coaches encouraged him and made him believe that he could go to the college of his choice if he stayed focused.
At Ohio State he quickly became a force to be reckoned with, finishing fourth for the Heisman, which was and still is unheard of for an offensive lineman.
The St. Louis Rams believed in him and chose him with the first overall pick in 1997. His teammates Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner took advantage of Pace’s ability and together they won a Super Bowl.
His wife was clearly a major part of his journey and his children are currently his inspiration.
When I spoke to Orlando Pace and even Andre Reed shortly before their inductions they both made it clear that the Hall of Fame started off as a dream. But as their dreams turned into a reality, and they embarked on joining the most exclusive and coveted fraternity in football, the honor was not so much about themselves but all the people that helped them along the way.