I've written the story before (and my vivid memories of hearing about Pat Tillman's death, right before the draft in 2004, are chronicled right here). But with the annual Pat's Run coming up again Saturday, it's automatic for me to think once again of covering Tillman for the couple of seasons that I did and then his famous story of leaving the NFL for what he saw as a more important calling.
The events in Boston this week, regardless of what (adjective deleted) person did it, again seem to shine a spotlight on what Tillman and (hopefully) all of us believe -- which is that we are lucky to live where we live and that as a country we band together in moments like this. I know the organizers of Pat's Run are taking extra precautions given what happened in Boston's race, but really, I haven't thought twice about whether I will still run or not. Of course I will.
I've heard from some of late who want to point out that Tillman wasn't the only soldier to lose his life sacrificing for this country. They are frustrated he is the one always talked about. There is no question there are many others who lost their lives doing the same. But this race is done for the Tillman Foundation, and Pat and his legacy are the reason it exists. It doesn't take away from any other soldier that this race takes place or garners publicity. The money raised helps veterans. That's a good cause.
(Speaking of good causes, if you want to take part in the Tillman Tweetup Friday night to raise money for a Tillman Foundation scholarship, tickets are still available for the chance to meet Bruce Arians, Steve Keim and players like Patrick Peterson and Sam Acho. Click here for all the details. I'll be there too.)
In a week where the real world has invaded sports, it's a fitting time to remember one of the best examples of the two worlds coming together.