Wednesday, February 01, 2006

DAY ONE Iraq Super Bowl Diary



Published in USA Today
DAY #1 - Washington, DC Jan 31

Getting ready to fly out tomorrow from Dulles Airport, (minutes from Joe Gibbs and the Redskins practice facility) for Frankfurt, Germany, and from there 5-6 hours more to Kuwait and then into Iraq by C-130 Transport. People will ask why we are doing it - why are four former NFL All-Pro's, Christian Okoye, Bryan Cox, Keith Byars and myself = and an All-Pro Cheerleader, Bonnie Jill Laflin, = heading to Iraq, the most dangerous place on earth right now, some might say?
Its an easy answer for all of us, I think - because a couple hundred thousand people are laying their lives on the line, 10,000 miles from home, and we sure as heck can take one week of our lives to share with them and help them feel a little more appreciated, a little less forgotten, a little more loved.
The Super Bowl, the Mother of all football games, greets the world this week with its particular "Shock and Awe" PR Blitz, while our little team of five travels to Iraq with a simpler goal:
1) KEEP OUR HEADS DOWN (according to Hazel Lowery, my Mom) and
2) HONOR THE MEN AND WOMEN THERE WITH A DOSE OF LOVE, HUMOR AND SPORT -
Sport is the silvery thread that effortlessly weaves us together - it gives continuity, normalcy, a sense of stability in the midst of chaos and change, and most of all, Sport gives hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that there are better things to look forward to. That life goes on.
We will go to honor the spirit of ABC's Bob Woodruff, Doug Vogt and those others who didn't have to go, but who wouldn't have it any other way. We've been honored on the playing field many times. How little it seems to honor those who know not what rules the game is played by, except a code of sacrifice and duty. My father Sidney flew reconnissance in a tiny Piper Cub at 1500 feet over northern Germany near the end of World War II - this is the least I can do.
Our guest on Headgames Radio today, former Colts all-Pro Defensive end Joe Ehrmann, said that more than as the minister he is to a congregation of 4000, as a football coach at the Gilman School in Baltimore, he has the chance to teach the two most important lessons in life: first, to learn how to love and to be loved, and second, to surrender to a cause larger than oneself - Christian, Keith, Bryan, Bonnie Jill and I are going to Iraq to witness these two lessons taught every day by thousands of our own countrymen whose Super Bowl is won and lost each and every day, one hour, sometimes, one minute at a time.
During the next few days, we'll search for Steeler and Seahawk fans from the other side of the world, and share some of these Iraq true life All Pros'stories. Ya'll come along for the ride. (end)
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Nick Lowery is a 7-time NFL All-Pro and Hall of Fame nominee. Currently, Lowery hosts "HeadGames", a national radio show which focuses on how to perform at your best when it matters most. The show airs daily @ 1 pm EST on Sirius Satellite Channel 122 and is available via podcast through http://www.blogger.com/www.Headgamesradio.com .

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