Lori Falce: We all need more team players
This week, I was reminded of how old I am because of a football player.
Jon Condo retired.
You might not recognize that name. Condo is a Pennsylvania native, a graduate of my own high school, Philipsburg-Osceola, that straddles the line between Clearfield and Centre counties.
And he was a great student athlete, excelling at baseball and wrestling in addition to football.
During his senior year, I spent a lot of my time at The Progress newspaper taking pictures of him at various school events and writing stories about things he was doing. It wasn’t all sports.
He was a well-rounded kid who was invariably nice and polite. He was respectful. He believed his success wasn’t his alone — that it was a team effort. He rarely talked about himself.
And that is who he stayed.
After college at Maryland, Condo, a long-snapper built like a comic book superhero, wasn’t immediately assured of his place in the NFL. He was at Dallas for a few games and spent a little time working with New England before he found his home in Oakland. He spent 11 years in black and silver, earning Pro Bowl spots twice.
When his time as a Raider was done, he kept working and ended up in a Falcons uniform last season. This year, he landed in San Francisco, but after just one game across the bay from his Oakland home, he realized he was done and announced his retirement.
You don’t know Condo’s name, not because he was a lesser athlete than the Antonio Browns or Le’Veon Bells or other bad boys of the NFL. He is a great athlete who could still be suiting up and making money.
You don’t know his name because his strength has always been about support, not stardom, and his talent has always been as a team player.
This isn’t the sports page, and this isn’t a sports story. It’s a story about hard work and commitment and doing what needs to be done for the people who stand beside you and the people you represent.
Should more football players — and baseball players and basketball players and superstars of all kind — be like Condo? Absolutely.
But so should more state representatives and congressmen and governors and presidents and presidential candidates.
There is very little in life that isn’t a team sport, and we could all do with more talented people who understand that rather than divas desperate for the spotlight.
And maybe I’m as old as I seem as I watch a kid I covered in high school retire, but I’d much rather cheer for one Jon Condo than for a hundred Antonio Browns.
Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].