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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Indiana is a better place because of Dungy

Posted Friday, March 13, 2009, at 3:14 PM

For a long time, I've known and firmly believed that former Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy was one of the special, good guys in sports.

The man has a genuine Christian character and is a fitting role model for youth and adults alike.

It's really very refreshing to witness in this day of negativity, bad news and rampant scandals in the world of athletics.

I received the following story in my e-mail this week that confirms my admiration for Dungy, who retired from coaching after last season.

The e-mail is from an Indianapolis area high school principal. It was from an e-mail he received from a speaker that conducted an in-service training session in January for teachers.

The story he tells is inspiring and goes to show you what kind of a guy Tony Dungy really is -- even when the spotlight isn't on him any more. He's down to earth, real and exhibits a compassion for others that is admirable.

The letter reads as follows:

Last Friday I was going through the Indianapolis Airport. People in the security checkline were grumbling about what nonsense the process was, blah, blah, blah. An elderly lady (in a different line) was struggling with her luggage, pocketbook, etc. She was also confused about what to do, how to do it, couldn't get her shoes off (and a host of other things). The security officials weren't helping the situation either (they can be mighty callous at times). I started to move her direction, but before I could get out of the line I was in, a gentleman (close by) sat down all of his stuff, and began to help the lady. I thought he looked familiar, but it didn't register; it was fascinating to see him come to her aid. Nobody else was making a move to help! He was talking to her, making conversation, helping her untie her shoes, putting her things in one of those bins, and making sure she was at ease. He helped her through the screening gate, then calmly put his things on the belt, went through and immediately began to help the lady put her shoes back on, gather her belongings, etc. In the meantime she had reached in her purse to show him pictures of her family. He made a big fuss over the photos, then asked for a wheelchair so he could get her to her gate.

Honestly, it was a Hallmark script. They disappeared down the concourse together. He was pushing the wheelchair and she was jabbering with him.

It made me smile a lot. Now here's the kicker. I got through security and went to get something to drink. Just beyond the little restaurant was a group of people gathered, all excited, shaking hands, etc., and in the center of them was the kind gentleman.

Guess who it was?

Tony Dungy, the recently retired coach of the Indianapolis Colts! I looked at his hand and, sure 'nuff there was the HUGE diamond Super Bowl ring.

The point: The elderly lady didn't know who he was, or care who he is, or would even have known had she been told. He did the right thing for the right reason. Important people serve others with a sense of purpose. These kinds of things are still the best lessons ever. Thanks for letting me share it.

Wow, what a wonderful random act of kindness.

How many of us can say we reached out to help someone in need today? How many of us will look for opportunities to do something small and special for our fellow brothers and sisters?

If Tony Dungy can do it, we can too.

Tony Dungy's teams at Tampa Bay and Indianapolis won 139 games in 13 seasons and made the playoffs 11 times. He was a brilliant defensive coach, but beyond the numbers or the successes on the field, he has been the guy that walked the walk more than he talked the talk.

When Dungy's son committed suicide in 2005, it would have been easy and understandable for him to grow bitter and get mad at the world.

But that wasn't his style or it wasn't in his character.

Less than a year after that event, Tony was speaking to an Athletes in Action group in Detroit, Mich.

He talked about pain and why God allows people to suffer.

"You get the question all the time, 'Why does the Lord allow pain in your life? Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is a God of love, why does he allow these hurtful things to happen?' " Dungy said. "We've learned that a lot of times because of that pain, that little temporary pain, you learn what's harmful. You learn to fear the right things.

"Pain sometimes lets us know we have a condition that needs to be healed. Pain inside sometimes lets us know that spiritually we're not quite right and we need to be healed and that God will send that healing agent right to the spot.

"Sometimes, pain is the only way that will turn us as kids back to the Father."

Great words from a great man.

Indiana is a better place because of Tony Dungy.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com or nschneider@gcdailyworld.com .


Comments
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Awesome.........totally awesome, thank you for sharing this story.

-- Posted by Sweet*Sassy on Mon, Mar 16, 2009, at 9:39 AM

I totally agree, Nick. Indiana is a better place because of Tony Dungy. In sports today, there are so many bad role models. It's wonderful to see such a wonderful Chrisitan man as a role model. I remember seeing a photo of the Colts in the locker room after winning the Super Bowl. The players were all knealed down holding hand in prayers. The Super Bowl trophy could be seen in the midst of all the players. Dungy said they were taking a moment to focus on what was really important. To me, that photo was worth a thousand words. When I heard Dungy was leaving, I was saddened. Yes, he was a great coach, but more importantly he was a great role model for sports fan everywhere.

-- Posted by ISUgrad06 on Sun, Mar 15, 2009, at 2:54 PM


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