Today is Byron "Whizzer" White's birthday. He turns 89 today. That's almost 90. Almost. Kind of like the almost as in, "We almost had the Whizzer on that play." That was heard a lot during his years at the University of Colorado. Yessir, if you were a football buff back in the thirties you knew who Byron "Whizzer" White was. Matter of fact he parlayed that great football ability into a professional football career in the NFL with the then Pittsburgh Pirates which became the Steelers.
Problem was, it was only one year, 1938. Why would such a promising football player only play one year? Did he get hurt? Was he a head case? Nah. White was none of those things. What he was was a brilliant student with a keen intellect and a bent for the law. Due to that he was named a Rhodes Scholar and went to Oxford for two years to study Law before returning to Yale for one last year of schooling in 1940. Then he returned to football with the Detroit Lions. That was for only two years.
The Law beckoned again. Riches and fame were of little interest to White. He went on to receive a position as a judge and then moved up in the ranks. Some would say that it was just as much for his community interest and love of the common man as it was his understanding of the Law. In 1961 John F. Kennedy chose him to serve as the U. S. Attorney General. Then, in 1962, JFK appointed him to serve on the U. S. Supreme Court. Yes, THAT U. S. Supreme Court. He retired from that court in 1993 and today turns 89.
Exceptional people accomplish exceptional things. White's contribution to professional football was not so much on the playing field as in the community. Annually the NFL rewards one of its player with an award recognizing them as the outstanding community servant in the league. The name of the award? The Byron "Whizzer" White Award. Most awards are named for the athletic side of a person's prowess. The one bearing White's name is for being a human being that was a little more than just a cut above the rest.
Ever wonder why we're called Christians? It is an award to us, sort of. We used to just be called disciples of Jesus. But the conversions to Christianity in Antioch (Acts 11:19-26) were being taken very seriously by those who accepted their faith in Christ as important. It was not merely a "Teacher/follower" relationship. It was more. It was "becoming." People were becoming like Christ, not just following His teachings. It impressed those who witnessed it. "And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." Acts 11:26 Wear your award well.
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