Writers for On the Banks do it because we care about Rutgers and like to share with other fans. It is not a job for any of us (which is a good thing considering our salary) but it certainly is a labor of love. Sometimes events happen as fans that are just too good not to share.
In my “other job” I work in upstate NY, just outside Albany.
Of course, despite being in Syracuse country (I have learned to REALLY hate the color orange!),
I rep the Scarlet Knights everywhere, from my office, to my car, and of course attire. So, it is well known at my job that I’m a Rutgers fan and booster.
Shortly after I started in this job, a co-worker came to me and told me she also had a Rutgers connection. She was a college roommate with Brian Leonard’s aunt. So, in the ensuing years she has regaled me with stories about Brian from when he was a child to his time at Rutgers to his time in the NFL. The best part about her stories is that she has shared that Brian Leonard is as good a guy as he comes across in every public interaction. In other words, it isn’t an act, that’s just Brian being Brian.
Last week she was visiting his family, and mentioned to him that she had a co-worker who was a big Rutgers fan. Brian asked for my name, and he autographed the cover of the book Rutgers Football: A Gridiron Tradition in Scarlet and gave it to her to present to me. I have to say it is a gorgeous book, with tons of pictures through the years, and has a picture of Brian doing the “Leonard Leap” on the cover.
Just like any other true Rutgers football fan, I was thrilled! This is something that will have a place of honor in our home, probably in our family room, which is already adorned with a Scarlet Knight bobblehead, a framed picture of Rutgers’ first Big Ten game against Penn State in 2014, and other Rutgers books and memorabilia.
What’s the point of this tale? It isn’t to gloat about my new book (though it really is very cool!) or to share my love of all things Rutgers. It is to show that even after all these years, former players still have a great deal of love for Rutgers, the program, and the fans. It is heartwarming and provides a great feeling of camaraderie.
So, as we work our way toward the beginning of the 2017 season’s Spring Practices (which are less than a month away, hooray!) know that despite the heroics in the NFL, or successes after the game, everyone from players, to coaches, to fans- all still hold the Scarlet Knights in their hearts. We may argue about the lyrics of the Alma Mater (sorry, to me it’ll always be “...and resolved that I should be a man...”) and we may argue about priorities, coaching choices, and everything else you can think about, but we always hold the school in high esteem.
And, just like the gentleman above, we get excited thinking about our team and the upcoming season.