No Ordinary Joe

How was your Labor Day Weekend? I know mine was one to remember. Saturday night, I had the honor of being the emcee of the first ever Ringgold High School athletic hall of fame induction ceremony. The volunteers in the Mon Valley worked very hard to bring three of the four members of this distinguished class. Consider this inaugural class: Ken Griffey Sr, Stan Musial (absent), Fred Cox and Joe Montana.

All four of these professional sports starts kicked off their careers at Ringgold High and while they have all moved out of the area, three quarters were able to come back and be a part of the party. Without questions, Joe was the main attraction and even had the high school stadium renamed in his honor the night before.

Joe and I had met three years earlier when he first returned to the Mon Valley and was honored with the naming of the “Joe Montana Bridges” on route 43. Before the dinner that night, Joe and I spent a good half hour talking — both on and off camera. We discussed his growing up in Mon Valley, his family and – suprisingly – his nervousness about speaking before his friends in the area.

Joe — for all his football daring and heroics — is a shy person. A humble man who often seems overwhelmed by his success and the attention he received. Three years ago, I don’t think he quite knew how to handle the love he received from his former neighbors in New Engle. Saturday night, he did.

Joe gave a stirring speech about realizing that he knew he was in a position to give back — and he did. In a small banquet hall filled to the rafters with local residents, Joe talked less about his glory days and more about his vision for the future of the children of the Mon Valley. It was heartfelt and it was eloquent.

Joe and I are not best friends, but he was kind of enough to share with me during the course of the night his thoughts on this special occasion. He was also nice enough to give me updates on his Notre Dame team’s battle with Georgia Tech which he followed on his blackberry.

Joe Montana. He really is an ordinary Joe – and the Mon Valley would not have it any other way.

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FYI — Here’s are the weekend golf results. I played 36 on Sunday at the Lakeview/Mountainview Courses at Cheat Lake just outside Morgantown.

Mountainview 51/55 == 106 (+34)
Lakeview 53/46 == 99 ( +27 ) with a 20-foot birdie putt

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