Good morning everyone. Today is June 29, Joe Delaney day around here.
A Chiefs draft pick, Delaney's life was cut short on this date 29 years ago when he tried to save three boys from drowning, even though he couldn't swim himself. There are some pretty powerful life lessons in that story if you're familiar with it.
If you're not familiar with Delaney's story, Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated wrote the story on him, one you have to read (even if you've read it before). Kent Babb of the KC Star also had a story on Delaney a few years ago.
The story I want to share today comes from the comments section of our Delaney post last year. AP reader trlwyr commented on the post with this very memorable story about Delaney, which I copy and pasted below.
By AP reader trlwyr:
"First, thanks for remembering Joe.
"Y'all don't know me, I've only written a little. But I read, and I appreciate. Now, I want to say a couple of things about what it means to know a good man.
"I've been going to Chiefs games since Municipal Stadium. They've been a big part of my life. My Dad put it in me, and that Chiefs stain don't wash off. Not that I've tried.
"Joe Delaney was a gift, an oasis in the desert of losing. For just a brief moment, he took us back to the glory days. Look at that middle bar on his facemask, and, if you're old enough, tell me that doesn't remind you of Mike Garrett, running 65 Toss Power Trap in New Orleans against the Vikings.
"Arrowhead, don't remember the date, don't remember the opponent, don't matter. Beautiful Fall Sunday afternoon, and Joe tore it up. He played as if he enjoyed playing, which is all I ever expected of my team. It's best when it looks like they're having fun, right? He had the shiftiness of Garrett, the silkiness of Marcus Allen, the speed of Jamaal, and, when he needed it, the power in his legs of Tony Richardson and Christian Okoye. And that day, the one day I got to see him in person, he flat tore it up. I think he ran for over 150, but this isn't about stats. You couldn't take your eyes off him. On the field, or on the sidelines. He had so much fun that day. A man doing what he loved to do.
"I don't usually get to sit as close as I did that day. But I was close. Game over, Chiefs won. Coming off the field, the players walked right by me. Slapping hands, some did, some didn't.
"Here comes Joe. Smiling. I held out my hand, and he looked right at me. He didn't just slap my hand, he took it. Held it. And he cuffed me behind my head and said, "Ain't this fun?" The picture of him above is exactly what he looked like when he said it. A happy man.
"I cried like a baby when I heard. I'm crying now. It's not just because he was a Chief. And it's not just because if he'd lived he would without a doubt have become one of the greatest running backs in history.
"It's because for that one brief moment, I got to look into the eyes of a truly good man."