Bo knows. Decades have passed since this slogan was plastered across the chests of my high school classmates, but I remember it well since it represented a status I coveted. Students who played sports were members of an elite group that seemed to receive preferential treatment from peers and professors alike.
During college two classmates of mine were killed in accidents. One construction related, the other, a friend of mine, was killed in a car accident when her vehicle hit a patch of ice and spun into oncoming traffic. A dream about her during my thirties convinced me that her story needed sharing. Fiction, like sports, has filled voids in my life.
Bo Jackson will not be admitted to the Hall of Fame. An argument against his inclusion is he falls short of the ten year longevity requirement. I would like to see an exception made for him. Bo Jackson is a historical figure who accomplished something special. Is this exception worthy of Hall of Fame admission?
I believe that Bo Jackson has earned enshrinement in the Hall of Fame since he was a cultural icon who helped define an era. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were the team to beat back then, but he lacked the multi-sport Bo Jackson achievements. It’s my opinion that Bo represents a greatness that stats fail to measure.
When I started writing my friend’s story I partnered her with a man whose shortstop career is loosely based on the Bo Jackson model. A murder attempt by his uncle left him with a titanium plate in his forehead, a shattered cheekbone, a broken wrist, and a lifetime of the types of seizures that can accompany a traumatic brain injury.
The male classmate of mine who was killed now has scholarship money in his name. It goes to multi-sport athletes that need the extra financial support some require to attend a private school. My girlfriend was a cheerleader, she wasn’t the star of the squad, her grades were good, but they weren’t exceptional. I still miss her.
There isn’t anything I can do to guarantee Bo Jackson a spot in the Hall of Fame, I’d like to believe that being him is enough of a reward since how you feel about yourself tends to be more important than what others think and award you. Last night’s conversation about his Hall of Fame case triggered a trip down memory lane.
Without Bo Jackson I wouldn’t have had a role model for my character and the melodrama that surrounds him. Consider this my tribute to a man whose relatively weak stats and lack of service time aren’t enough to diminish a lively debate about whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame. What that means to him, only Bo knows.