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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'll be the first one to buy a Jon Alston jersey

I am stunned.
For one of the few times in my professional career, an athlete called me to thank me for a story I wrote about him.
Hence, the bewildered look on my face since he called.
Former Loyola and Stanford star Jon Alston is my new favorite football player. I called him earlier this week for a piece about the NFL Scouting Combine which began on Wednesday.
Alston was one of three Stanford players invited to Indianapolis to work out in front of NFL general managers and coaches.
You would think with his professional future hanging in the balance, he'd be focused on preparing, which he is. He's been working with an elite training facility to improve his performance this week.
But, after I left a message on his cell phone, he actually returned the message.
You have to understand one thing. Usually it takes an inordinate amount of messages on an athlete's or coach's cell phone before a reporter will hear back. Not Jon.
One message, a couple of hours later, ring!, Hi this is Jon Alston...
An athlete with manners? Get out of here!
He then called me this afternoon to thank me which added to my astonishment.
The IRS probably gets more thank you calls than sports writers. We get a ton of complaints, like the letter I got from a Byrd soccer parent this afternoon, but a call thanking me for a story?! Excuse me while I slap myself out of my state of delirium.
So if Jon makes it in the pros, I will be the first one to buy his NFL jersey. I've never really followed the NFL, not as strongly as college ball, but I will follow his career now. Whether it's in the NFL, NFL Europe, Canadian Football League or making $200 a week in arenafootball2.
I want a Jon Alston jersey.
You want to talk about class in an athlete or point your kids toward a proper athletic role model? Then he's where the dialogue should begin.


Blogger Brian McCallum said...

In my nearly seven years as the prep sports editor at The Times, one high school athlete has called to thank me for a story, and it was, you guessed it, Jon Alston.

4:57 PM  

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