Gale Sayers, Hall of Fame running back for the Chicago Bears was also known for his friendship with a fellow player, Brian Piccolo, who was battling cancer as Sayers was coming back from a rather serious knee injury.
The movie, Brian’s Song was based on that friendship, and it typified what I’m trying to talk about today.
Each had their own struggles to get back to the game, and in Brian Piccolo’s case, the struggle was for his life.
They constantly pushed each other, lifting each other up when they were down, and putting aside their own agendas for the sake of the others.
In one particular incident, Gale Sayers brought up Brian’s name. I’m quoting now from his book, I am Third.
At the end of May I came into New York to attend the Professional Football Writers annual dinner and receive the George S. Halas award as the most courageous player in pro football. I had wanted Brian to attend with me if he was strong enough, but the day I arrived in New York was the day Brian and Joy left the hospital to go back home. He had finished a series of cobalt treatments and the doctors said he could spend a few weeks at home, then return to the hospital for more treatment.
One reason I wanted Brian with me at the banquet was that I intended to give him the trophy right there. But at least I was able to tell the audience something about Brian Piccolo.
"He has the heart of a giant, "I said, "and that rare form of courage that allows him to kid himself and his opponent, cancer. He has the mental attitude that makes me proud to have a friend who spells out the word courage twenty-four hours a day of his life."
I concluded by saying, "You flatter me by giving me this award but I can tell you here and now that I accept it for Brian Piccolo. Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas award. Mine is tonight, it is Brian Piccolo’s tomorrow ... I love Brian Piccolo and I’d like all of you to love him, too. Tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him ..."
From "I am Third" by Gale Sayers with Al Silverman. Copyright (r) Gale Sayers and Al Silverman 1970 and 2001.
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Peter Chan on Feb 11, 2005
Faith Involves Resting Securely on God’s Revelation –Entering the Ark. Noah’s faith in become a verb is completed with his entrance into the Ark with his family. It inspires me to learn that Noah was so confident about God’s promise and power that he went into the Ark with his family. It is one ...read more
Contributed by Mike Wilkins on Aug 4, 2005
In Donald Miller’s book “Blue Like Jazz,” he has a chapter called “Love: How to Really Love Other People” He was at a lecture by Greg Spencer that talked about the metaphors that we use around (amongst other things) relationships. We talk about how we value people, invest in people, how we say ...read more
Contributed by Michael Dugal on Jul 20, 2003
Psa 91 – engineer unit (1943-45)Their chaplain encouraged them to carry a copy of this Psalm with them as they went into battle. During two years and over 20 intense battles, the unit expereinced no deaths. During Operation ...read more
Contributed by Paul Decker on May 19, 2004
Jeremy Bassett’s 5-year-old niece, Olivia, and her best friend, Claire, were participating in a nativity play at school. Claire was playing Mary, and Olivia was an angel. Before the show, a young boy was going around the dressing room repeating, "I’m a sheep, what are you?" Each child responded ...read more
Contributed by Michael Mccartney on Jan 8, 2005
2. Cal and Rose Samra share this story from Holy Hilarity: From Rev. John L. Wallace. Christmas: It wasn’t long ago that a psychologists started telling us that the ‘holidays’ are not a source of joy for everyone. Like the drunk I encountered on the subway on Christmas Eve, they’ve been told the ...read more
Contributed by Bishop Dr. Julius Soyinka on Feb 22, 2016
We need to understand carefully what the Bible has to say about this matter and do whatever we need to do to see that these obstacles of revival do not hinder us from getting what we need from the Lord.
Contributed by Dennis Davidson on Mar 30, 2014
God¡¯s hand, if submitted to, will humble us so that God can do His great work in our life. God works in & on our life to transform us into Christ-likeness. This great work is of grace. God grants the grace necessary for spiritual growth to the humble