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Very good book by Jeff Pearlman. Here is something very nice that Troy Aikman once did...

"f there was one disappointment it was that the media missed the feel-good story of [1994] training camp. In October 1993, a ten-year-old Dallas boy named J. P. O'Neill was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare form of childhood cancer that results in large tumors in the facial or abdominal regions. Like many kids his age, J. P. was a sports fanatic. His room was covered with posters of baseball, hockey, and football players, as well as one featuring the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. 'He loved climbing trees,' says Kim O'Neill, J. P.'s father. 'He would climb a tree in my parents' backyard and just sit up there and stare into the woods.'

"By the summer of 1994, J.P.'s health had deteriorated. The tumor in his stomach refused to go away, and the boy weakened daily. When a Channel 5 sportscaster named Scott Murray learned of J. P.'s plight, he arranged for the O'Neills to attend the Cowboys' training camp. Throughout the day, J. P. was treated like a king. He met players, collected autographs, basked in the glow. 'They were all so nice to him,' says Kim. 'Made him feel incredibly special.'

"Of all the Cowboys, Aikman stood out. He chatted with the boy for several minutes before posing for pictures. This type of generosity was a side to the reclusive quarterback far too few people had witnessed. (When the wife of offensive lineman Dale Hellestrae was pregnant with the couple's first daughter, Aikman was the only Cowboy -- heck, the only male -- to attend the baby shower. When an equipment manager named Al Walker had trouble with his battered truck, Aikman bought him a new one. 'No one else went out on a limb for Al,' says Kevin Smith. 'Aikman drove the truck up there to Valley Ranch, gave Al the keys, said, "This is your truck, Al. Just go get insurance." He did stuff like that all the time that nobody knew about.') So now, as the quarterback prepared to walk away from J. P., Kim reached for the star's shoulder and said, 'I know this is a lot, but J. P. was wondering if you'd throw a touchdown pass for him.' Aikman looked at J. P., sitting in his wheelchair beneath a blue-and-white Cowboys cap, and said, 'I'll do you one better. I'll score a touchdown for you and send you the ball.' When J. P. was out of earshot, Aikman whispered to Kim, 'I know your son doesn't have long. If I don't do it this week [in a matchup with the Vikings], I promise I'll score for him against the Raiders in next Sunday's exhibition.'

"On the night of August 7, J. P. O'Neill sat in front of his TV and watched the Cowboys fall to Los Angeles, 27-19. He didn't care about the final score. He didn't care about the standout performance of Raiders center Don Mosebar. No, all he cared about was the Cowboys' opening series, when Aikman did what no other quarterback is supposed to do in a meaningless preseason game: He scrambled half a dozen yards into the end zone.

"'We knew the touchdown was just for him,' says Colleen O'Neill, J. P.'s older sister. 'He had to tell everyone who would listen that the touchdown was his. It meant everything to my brother.'

"Nineteen days later, J. P. O'Neill died. He was buried at Restland Cemetery in Dallas, holding the football that Troy Aikman had sent him."

pp.266-267, (HarperCollins Publishers, New York), 2008.
 

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I'll expand a little on that story. That "shower" that is talked about for Hellestrae was actually attended by several males and their spouses including my wife and me, as I was Dale's college roommate. The best part about the night was that Troy was about 30 minutes late and we couldn't figure out where he was, as his car was parked in the road just down the street. It was very perplexing until Troy knocked at the door and related where he had been. Seems that he had written down the wrong address and had knocked on the door on the house across the street. Seems a little old lady answered and when he asked if the Linebargers (the hosts of the shower) lived there she said no they lived across the street but she was a huge fan of his. Evidently she was quite convincing because she talked Troy into coming inside the house, sat him down at the kitchen table, poured him a glass of tea, called her husband into the room and they proceeded to have a nice little chat for over thirty minutes! Troy said he just couldn't find a nice way to get out of the conversation without being rude. I could go on and on about him being nice to people when it would have been real easy to just turn the other way but he always seemed to do the right thing.
 

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thats incredible

I think I remeber that pre-season touchdown - if it's indeed the one I remember, Aikman dove headfirst on the sideline. The announcer commented about how incredibly thoughtles it was of Aikman to risk himself that way in a pre-season game. Go Cowboys!!!
 
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