Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wellington Mara RIP

Why a Packer fan (married to a lovely girl from DePere) would offer a eulogy for the New York Giants' owner? Simple. Mara and his family were VERY close to Vince Lombardi. Maybe this short essay from Fr. Rutler will explain why:

All I could add is that in the more than twenty years that I knew Wellington and his wife Ann as friends, I never heard him utter an untoward or unkind word or attract any attention to himself.

Whether under the trying circumstances of my own mother’s funeral or at happy occasions like my recent birthday party, he was the same consistent personality, the father of a large and devoted family, not to mention being the chief architect of the modern National Football League.

The archetypical Catholic gentleman distinguished himself in his pro-life work, very practically engaging football stars in his “Athletes for Life” which helped the moral formation of young boys in our morally desolate culture. I saw him shortly before he died and he never ceased to smile in spite of his discomfort.

We used to joke that we got on so well because of my disdain for professional football, fleeing the slightest prospect of free tickets. He was a faithful penitent and communicant and I think he converted many in his raucous profession by his example.

If you haven't read it, Maraniss' bio of Lombardi, When Pride Still Mattered, is an excellent read and is a revelation to those who think Vince was "just" a football-strategist par excellence.

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