“He (Conner) refuses to name a favorite, but one has earned special attention: a plaque from a team of Navy SEALs. The inscription opens by imploring Conner to never quit. He flicks at his 2014 ACC player of the year trophy on the desk. “This,” he says of the plaque, “is better than any of that.”
A few hours later, in the hospital room of Ian Malesiewski, Conner turns over his left arm, where he has had the rest of the inscription from the SEALs tattooed. He reads it to Ian, who was wrestling in the Greco-Roman nationals on June 3 when he fell to the mat forehead-first and fractured his C4 vertebra. “Persevere and thrive on adversity,” Conner says. “Strive to always be physically harder and mentally stronger than your opposition. If knocked down, get back up. Every time. Draw on every remaining ounce of strength to accomplish your life’s mission. You are never out of the fight.”
Please read on friends – it’s a story we Pitt fans know well but I’m sure never get tired of reviewing for many reasons – especially for lessons learned for our own lives.
Here is a great Sporting News piece about our 2009 freshman phenom Dion Lewis – written before his 2010 sophomore season started:
“… The uncommon combination of aphorisms is fitting because out of the weight room comes Dion Lewis, perhaps the most uncommon player in college football. No other player packs so much skill—and wallop—into such a small package. He’s 5-8 with shoes on and is listed at 195 pounds, but from the looks of him that would be true only if he stashed bricks in his pockets.
Yet when Lewis, a sophomore who will turn 20 this month, first walked into Pitt’s weight room a year and a half ago, he already could bench-press 360 pounds and squat 500. That he wields so much power in such a little body leads his friends, family, teammates and coaches to come up with colorful descriptions of him. Among those suitable for publication: He can squat a house, he’s a horse, he’s a bowling hall, he’s a nightmare.
Here’s another: He’s a Heisman Trophy candidate…”
If we remember Dion Lewis left right after the 2010 season when he was eligible to declare for the NFL draft because he had spent a year in Prep School in New Jersey prior to enrolling at Pitt. Here are his two season stats totals – especially impressive is his 30 rushing TDs in two years – on pace to top Dorsett’s record at the time.
Hope you enjoy these two articles which look not so far into the past. I’ll try to do this once a week of so, on Friday’s maybe, to get you all primed up to skip out of work early, go get a beer or three and talk Pitt football with your friends.