Ceremonial Speech: Walter Payton Essay, Research Paper
Today I would like all of you to join me in a tribute to the greatest running back ever to play in the National Football League Walter Payton. His career with the Chicago Bears began in 1975 and Sweetness continued to run until 1987 his legacy continues much longer.
The nickname Sweetness was earned at Jackson State. Whether it was for all the great skills he brought to the field or because it packed a certain irony for someone who loved physical contact, the name stuck and it fit. From the time he arrived as a 20 year old number one draft pick from Jackson State in 1975, Payton s relentless running style and charismatic personality earned him the admiration of thousands of sports fans all over the country.
Walter Payton once ran for a record 275 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. He ran for 16,726 yards in his career, more than any other player did. When we measure his greatness in these days after his sad, early death, we will rightly lean on these amazing numbers because they remind us of the degree to which Payton separated himself from more than 75 years worth of NFL running backs. When asked how defensive players could stop him, he commented, maybe they should kidnap me the night before.
Not only was Payton a great football player but he was an even better friend and person. His teammates remember him as a man of energy and wit. His genuine caring and generosity were the stuff of rare and lasting friendships. Mike Singletary, a former Bears teammate said it best, he s a better person than he is a player. This says a lot for anyone who played the game as well as Payton did.
When I think of Payton, I see the great orange, white, and blue #34 gliding with the ball one arm slightly in front of the other, deciding which hole he was going to go through before it was even there. Or the way he would leap over a pile of defenders into the end zone, but more importantly how after each touchdown he would hand the ball to the official, as a gentleman.
A writer from the Sportszone Daily Online Journal said this, I will say to myself, remembering the way Amiri Baraka once described jazz, that Payton is not beautiful, but he is.