The Cowboy and the Survivor

It is said that celebrity deaths comes in three.  The last 72 hours have proved that to be real.  In a span of 5 days, Ron Santo, Don Meredith, Hank Raymonds, and Elizabeth Edwards passed away.  I wrote about Santo on Friday.  Today, I’ll pay homage to Dandy Don and Edwards.  Later this week, my thoughts on Raymonds, who succeeded the wildly popular Al McGwire at Marquette.


Don Meredith (1938-2010)


Don Meredith passed away on Sunday, after a brain hemmorage and lasping into a coma.  He was 72.

He may not mean much to most of my generation and younger, but for those like me and and our parents, Meredith had a place in NFL history as one of the first stars of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, and then a star who turned Monday Night Football into an American weekly tradition.

He was the perfect foil to the irascible lawyer-turned-broadcaster Howard Cosell.  Paired with fellow quarterback, the “Golden Boy” Frank Gifford, both men, along with CBS’ Pat Summerall and Tom Brookshier, were among the first former pro athletes to segue into the broadcasting booth.

Before becoming a household name on MNF, “Dandy Don” was an All-Pro quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.  In fact, he was one of the first big-name stars that put Dallas on the NFL map with Bob Hayes and Tom Landry.

Meredith will be remembered for not one, not two, but three successful careers as a superstar quarterback, a budding actor, and as a lovable and popular analyst.

The party is not over yet, so the lights remain on, as Frank Gifford remains the last member of the most memorable trio in sports television.

Elizabeth Edwards, in the eyes of many, didn’t deserve what she has endured for nearly two years.  However, the ultimate lesson she provided until her passing on Tuesday to cancer at age 61, was how to handle such adversities with dignity and quietness.

Battling cancer is one thing.  Going through public humiliation after her husband, John, admitted to having an affair and fathering a child out-of-wedlock during his presidential run in 2008, was quite another.


Elizabeth Edwards (1949-2010)


However, she wasn’t just the “good” political wife.  Similar to Hillary Rodham Clinton, she was an active political wife.  Independent, aggressive, and respected by many, she had endured through tragedy (death of son Wade in a car accident in 1996), so when she was diagnosed with cancer and learning of her husband’s affair, she reached inside of herself and found the strength to weather the storm and look ahead.

It is common to feel sorry for her, but she didn’t look at it that way.  She was a survivor, as my mom would call someone who was knocked down so many times, and yet got up and kept moving forward.


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