Every month the Chicago Now Community of Writers Participates in a Blog Wide Community project known as blogapalooza. This month we were given the project of writing "about a character or scene in a movie or book that affected you in some way"
Although this is a blog about Chicago sports, I was always more affected as a child by "Something for Joey" than Brian's Song. Billy Dee Williams and James Caan as Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo have been far more accomplished actors than Mark Singer and Jeff Lynas as John and Joey Cappelletti.
Capilletti's 1973 season was one of the best in Penn State history. He rushed for 1,522 yards and 17 touchdowns and won the Heisman Trophy. That he did so while his three year old brother was dying of leukemia was beyond inspirational.
When the television movie of their story came out, I was nine or ten years old. I come from a very passionate sports family. My father played on Louisville's first final four team, my grandfather had Bears and Blackhawks season tickets and my uncle was a swimmer and diver at New Trier.
Sports has had a huge influence for me throughout my life. Sports teaches us many valuable life lessons. All athletes have had to deal with injuries, adversity, dealing with authority and if in a team sport how to work with other people.
I remember watching Something for Joey and as a fairly young child crying at the end. Capilletti taught us about appreciating what we have, loving those closest to us and the importance of perseverance.
Capilletti thanked many people in his life during his Heisman acceptance speech then saved Joey until the end. After revealing that Joey had Leukemia, John said "If I can dedicate this trophy to him (Joey) and give him couple of days of happiness this is worth everything.
I think a lot of people think that I go through a lot on Saturdays and during the week and you get bumps and bruises and its a terrific battle out there on the field. Only for me its on Saturdays and only in the fall. For Joseph its all year round and a battle that is unending with him and he puts up with much more than I'll ever put up with and I think that this trophy is more his than mine because he is such an inspiration to me"
I remember watching this at the time and it having a huge impact on me at the time. Sadly I never learned to use those lessons in my own life.
After my family suffered our own tragedy, my children and I have had to learn perseverance and that the will to live have taught us many valuable lessons. Seeing the big picture in life has become more important.
Joey and John Capelletti taught us the true meaning of love and truly loving those close to us before its too late in any way. Sadly Joey lost his battle with Leukemia on April 8, 1976.
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