On Saturday the Packers put Reggie White into their Hall of Fame. An honor that he deserved and one that was maybe a little overdue. His family did not attend. Initially when reading this bit of news I was annoyed but then I epiphed (or, I had an epiphany, if you want to use "real" words) and realized this was inevitable. Expecting Reggie's family to show up every time someone wants to honor the man is a little like expecting that eating a gallon of Blackberry Swirl ice cream every day won't make you gain 70 pounds by the time Madden is rambling on about Turducken. Sure it'd be awesome, and kinda amazing, but it's not likely to happen any time soon is it? So, Whites, I carry no grudge.
I'm not going to write about Reggie and his inductment mostly because I, like our White friends, was not there and also because the actual ceremony is just a minor moment in a lifetime of major achievements. I'm not going to rehash all that either. There are plenty of places to review Reggie's career, his accomplishments, his failings and all the rest. Most of us know the important stuff without having to read about it in the Post-Gazette anyway.
Reggie White was the first guy that made me believe the Packers were a legitimate team. When he signed on I just remember walking around in a daze wondering what that might mean. When he came out in the papers and said that the team was Favre's (and, by default, not Sharpe's) I had a little hop in my step. When he said something I believed him in full*.
It's not an easy thing to do - getting a fan to believe their team is going to win it all. Sure most fans have some delusions and think they have a chance but in their hearts they know that maybe their boys aren't quite up to the task. They know they don't have what it takes. The Packers in 96? I never doubted for a second that they wouldn't win it. So I'm grateful. Thank you Reggie for making me believe. For making me know we were going to win. That is still the singular sports season for me that I felt like I had the best horse in the race. The reasons for that go far beyond Reggie. But he's the one that made me think it could really happen. That alone makes him worthy of the Ring and the Hall. That's what made him special. Thanks Reggie.
*This belief in his sayings did not necessarily carry over to non-football related issues. Like, say, the thing about Asians being handy with computers or the all white people being good with money thing. Those things I didn't really believe. Football? Good to go. Social issues? Uh, man, did you see that hump move? That was amazing! Ha ha.