Of inspiration from Farmers and the NFL

Rambling through central Illinois, thankful there is an NFL cracker to savor in this COVID-19 desert.

The last thing The Farmer heard that fateful day in June was to lower his head, because he was getting in a helicopter. Not for a joy ride. Life Flight. Not the helicopter ride you want. Moments earlier, he had been driving his tractor on Illinois Route 78. Winding up in the ditch was not planned. It was devastating.

Would he walk again after breaking his pelvis? Would his arm, “degloved” to the elbow recover? Would he regain use of his hand? Would his other broken bones mend?

After 40 days in the hospital and 39 days in rehab – 10 weeks with no weight on his legs – he started to recover. Pity would be an easy reaction, but not for The Farmer. He gritted his teeth, cried a bit and battled. Blessed with a very good wife and a strong will, he fared better than expected.

Before summer was over, he was driving a corn-filled semi and was able to help with harvest, one of many goals he set along the road to recovery.

One of his other big goals was to hunt ducks and deer. The Farmer is a great shot and has bagged his share of trophy bucks, even though he has typically hunted a ditch in which he might not see a deer for days. Even in deer hunting, he has been a battler. But hunting is no easy thing. And not being able to walk well gets in the way of being able to reach a duck blind or deer stand. Still, he persevered. He’s shot some ducks and the deer payoff came on a chilly Saturday during second shotgun season. After crossing a creek (thankfully at a very low level) with a broom handle as a walking stick, he shot a buck that to many would not be a shooter.

Hah. You can’t show me a better trophy this fall. No 30-pointer means more than the deer Gary Forlines shot during second gun season. His is the product of hard work. Of grit. Of effort in the face of very bad odds. His is a lesson. The payoff might seem far off. Sometimes, it is closer than you know.

Parting shot: Stop reading right now. What follows is complete gratuitous fluffery written by a man who pays for this space. You were warned. For most of my sports life, I’ve been waiting for a Buffalo Bills quarterback to replace Jim Kelly, the toughest dude I’ve seen outside of Rooster Cogburn. No, it was not Doug Flutie, though that was a fun fling. Not Ryan Fitzpatrick, either, though he is one of the few Harvard products worthy of cheers. But the QB of the present and future is Josh Allen. Like the City of Buffalo, he is much maligned and often overlooked. Good. Let a marginal talent from Cleveland be the most over-hyped QB in the NFL (good commercials, though). You can have all the Daks and Bakers and Candlestick Makers. Nothing matters more to an NFL team than finding a QB. The Bills have there answer for the next decade. Contact Jeff Lampe at (309) 231-6040 or jeff@wklypost.com