He grew up with legends, surrounded by them, really. Of course, he was just a kid back then, perhaps easily impressed, Oldtimers you'd call them now, I suppose. Sherrill Headrick, Curis McClinton, Abner Haynes, Jerrel Wilson, Jerry Mays, even Mack Lee Hill for an all-too-short time. Len Dawson, Fred Arbanas, Bobby Bell and Buck Buchanan. Ed Budde, Chris Burford, Ed Lothamer. Some stayed longer than others, but they were the gladiators of his youth. His team. His Heroes. His Legends.
Others would follow. Otis Taylor, Curley Culp, Willie Lanier. Emmitt Thomas, Johnny Robinson, EJ Holub. In time they left, too, but more still followed over the years. As he grew older and maybe a bit wiser, the legends were fewer and farther between. Ed Podolak, Jack Rudnay, Art Still, Deron Cherry, Albert Lewis, Bill Maas, Neil Smith, Derrick Thomas. But still, heroes and legends, all.
Even the ones that weren't the best of the best, but we so desperately WANTED them to be our legends: Bill Kenney, Carlos Carson, Gary Spani, Gary Barbaro, Dino Hackett, Steve DeBerg ... we wanted ALL of them to be our heros, our winners, our surrogate success stories. He'd aged to adult and then some, and realized that not all were true heroes, but they were part of his life, part of who he was deep inside. That would never change. Oh, some days were better than others, to be sure, and some years were better than others. Some years were pretty lean, but they were still OUR Chiefs. OUR Heros. OUR Legends.
TonyG, Priest Holmes, Willie Roaf and Will Shields. Brian Waters. Deep inside we're all kids, still. We still want our heroes, our legends. Maybe in some way we want to BE them, even though we know we can't, so we make up for it by wanting them all to be The Best. We want all of them to be modern legends, right-now heroes in front of our very eyes. Maybe that's why we invent our legends. Somewhere deep inside we need them. We always have and we probably always will.
The Legend of Swagger Vance!
Maybe that's why we invent new heroes, new legends. After all, they aren't just for ME or YOU, they're for everyone ... the kid down the street, the high school football player with high hopes, even the Canadian college player with aspirations of someday becoming a doctor has his own heroes and legends.
He's old now, he knows that he's been blessed over the years. The people he's known and loved, the games and sights and experiences he's lived. He's old, but he remembers, and sometimes he can still hear that voice inside, talking to him, reminding him of what he's always dreamed about. The old dreams, the old legends of his youth ...
Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing ... Somethin' we was born with ... Somethin' that's ours and ours alone ... Somethin' that can't be taught to ya or learned ... Somethin' that got to be remembered ... Over time the world can, rob us of that swing ... It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas ... Some folk even forget what their swing was like ...
... and still he's a lucky man!