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In Memoriam: James Dungy, 1987 - 2005

James_dungySports Illustrated writer Peter King wrote a moving account of Tony Dungy's eulogy for his son James Dungy.

"My daughter Tiara (Dungy) said it best the other day,'' Dungy said. "She said, 'I just wish he could have made it 'til he was 20. If James could have only made it to 20, he'd have been all right. Because when you're 17 or 18 years old, you don't think everything your parents say is right. But by the time you're 20 or 21, you start thinking they were right on most things.' But he just couldn't make it to 20."

Dungy, in his polite but firm way, talked about how James struggled to keep grounded in the face of a culture that said young black men should dress, speak and conduct themselves opposite of the way Tony and his wife had taught James. He was trying to grow up, on his own, away from his mother and father, in the town in which he had spent his formative years.

Then Dungy told his team, in his first remarks to them since James' death, how proud he was of them. "You are the best role models this society could have,'' he said.

After the funeral, Dungy told the press, "The Lord's giving me an opportunity to show what my life is about,'' he said. "If I can only show my best foot forward in the good times, then I'm not a very good man.''

There are so many of us that have won the genetic lottery, a chance to make more with our lives than our forefathers ever dreamed. When the moment of decision comes -- as it must in everyone's lives -- we will learn what we are made of.

Link: Dungy Family Guest Book (via Legacy.com)

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