EDITOR NOTE: Tanque Verde High School coach Jay Dobyns, a former standout football player at Sahuaro and Arizona before pursuing a distinguished federal law enforcement career, shares his encounter with Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, who has passed away at 77.
This is the only personal keepsake that I have managed to hold on to from my childhood.
Before moving to Tucson, I grew up outside Chicago, just over the Indiana state line.
My dad was a Bears fan and a Sayers fan, so like many kids, we idolize our father’s heroes. My dad scotch-taped Gale’s poster on my bedroom wall. In 1970, I was nine years old. I hand wrote Gale a letter once every week; how I admired him, wanted to be like him, play like him.
One day, a manila envelope with the Chicago Bears insignia arrived in the mail.
I was so excited, I opened it at the mailbox. This picture was enclosed.
What is maybe even more important in today’s society, beyond Gale’s other-world athletic talent, is that he is also known for his kindness and compassion for everyone. He was an extraordinary athlete and human being.
That is the true model our young athletes should strive for.