For the longest time, I've watched or read great sports stories that inspire me. Most times, I'll forward them on to Barbara among others. If we were to do a "Back & Forth" on them, most times, my Back would be "here's a story you should look at," followed by her Forth of "great, you made me cry again."
So I'll deliver a great sports story to you...and maybe to my friend and co-anchor later. Your Forth may be similar to hers.
Mark Sanchez may be the next Joe Namath. The latter New York Jets quarterback's career statistics weren't the most spectacular, but his guarantee to win Super Bowl III combined with his looks and attitude put him among the icons of the NFL. Sanchez has the looks, some bravado, and has achieved a lot of success in a two-year career.
And he had Aiden Binkley..."had" being the operative word, fortunately and unfortunately.
An 11-year-old super-fan of the Jets, Aiden died recently, just weeks after first meeting Sanchez. It was one of his final wishes in a life striken by a rare cancer. But Aiden didn't just meet his favorite player, get an autograph or a jersey and a hug. He got visits at his home from Sanchez. And texts right after games. And phone calls as he laid bed-ridden in his last days...all from an athlete with plenty to do, but one who made time and effort for a kid he knew for a short while.
Sanchez has been pained by a shoulder injury, part of a grueling 16-game season in a violent sport. But he says it's nothing compared to what Aiden endured.
"He meant the world to me," Sanchez said in an interview, choking up. "I felt like I've known him forever...I saw his personality. I saw his competitive spirit. I saw him fighting every day."
Click here to check out the full story of Aiden and Mark, friends forever linked for their love of the Jets and football. Namath guaranteed a championship. Sanchez might choose to, but undoubtedly he would guarantee that he will carry Aiden's love with him through this playoffs and beyond.