Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Read this entire story and then cheer for Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl this weekend...I just CAN'T cheer for the Steelers...
In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busy working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register # 4. Kurtis was almost finished, wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22), and he fell in love.
Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the time-card clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card, and punched out, then left. He looked at the time-card. It said, “Brenda.” He walked out, only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She said it simply wasn't possible. He pressed her, and she explained she had two children, and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly, she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday.
That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis replied, "Well, let's take the kids with us."
She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he was insistent. Finally, Brenda brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, . . . then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.
Kurtis looked at Brenda and said, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?"
Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband and the father of her children had done.
Kurtis was not ordinary - - - he had a different mindset.
That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything, Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, Kurtis lifted him from his wheelchair, carried him, and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.
A year later, they were married, and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added five more kids.
So what happened to Kurtis the Stock Boy and Brenda the Check-Out Girl?
Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona, where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals will play in Super Bowl XLIII (43) this coming Sunday.
It should be noted that in 2000 and 2002 he also quarterbacked the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowls XXXIV (34) and XXXVI (36). He has also been the NLF's Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice and the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player once.
Warner's case is as instructive as it is well-known. In 1994, after being cut by the Green Bay Packers, he found himself working the nightshift at a Hy-Vee grocery store near his alma mater, - - - that noted football factory known as Northern Iowa. - - - By February 2000, he'd won a Super Bowl ring and the first of his two MVP awards. (Kurt led the St. Louis Rams in defeating the Tennessee Titans, 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV, 30 Jan 2000.)
Warner first went to the Super Bowl with the Rams as an improbable success story, a former grocery bagger and a graduate of NFL Europe and the Arena Football League who'd gotten a starting chance with the St. Louis Rams because of an injury to starter Trent Green. He returns to Super Bowl XLIII with the Arizona Cardinals at age 37, as perhaps an even more improbable reclamation project.
"There were plenty of [times] when I wondered if I would ever start again," Warner said Tuesday. "There were moments when you were just thinking about starting and getting back in and playing and playing well. The Super Bowl kind of gets pushed to the back burner."
Warner said he thinks he showed his new teammates from his first practice with the team he still had something left in his arm. But he had to prove himself to a new coaching staff when the Cardinals fired Dennis Green and hired Ken Whisenhunt before the 2007 season. The club had drafted Matt Leinart in the first round in 200to be its quarterback of the future. But Cardinals offensive line coach Russ Grimm said Tuesday that the new staff had an open mind about Warner when it took charge, and Whisenhunt ended up going with Warner as the full-time starter after Leinart broke his collarbone in the fifth game of the 2007 season.
"Kurt has always been a great player," Grimm said. "He was the MVP in St. Louis, so you know he's a good quarterback. When you get around him, you realize what type of person he is. He's a great person. He works at it. He's a great leader for a lot of young players. The experience factor is there. He'll get on the young guys if they're not going their job."
"With this season and in 1999 with the Rams, when we were in a similar situation, those are probably the two things that I'm gonna take with me more than anything when I leave this game," Warner said Tuesday. "It's not gonna be about touchdown passes thrown or games won. It's going to be about being a part of two organizations that nobody expected anything from, and being able to be a part of them taking a run to the Super Bowl, exceeding expectations, and changing perceptions."
AND THE REST OF THE STORY: Today when Kurt, his wife, and seven children go out to eat he has one of his children pick out a family eating at the restaurant. Kurt then tells the restaurant staff he is picking up the tab for that family's dinner, anonymously. He remembers the days he was working nights in the grocery store and feeding his family on food stamps. Makes it hard not to root for Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, doesn’t it?