Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Penn State player who is an Inspiration: Tamba Hali

It may be my Penn State pride, but his story is something going right for a change. (link)

He is about to become a rich man, beyond anything he could have imagined when he was a child on the harsh streets of Liberia.

Tackling a running back is nothing compared to fleeing rebels with machine guns during a civil war.

"We were sitting there -- I remember my mother, she was cooking," Hali said. "Gunfire just started erupting all over the place. Then, that was like, all the time. It started happening frequently. We went into hiding. My stepdad would get a car and we'd go into a village far away from the city. We'd go to a far village, spend about six months there and come back out. Things would cease a little bit, and then they start again."

Hali fled the country at the urging of his mother. He and his siblings joined his father in the United States. He was 12. He left behind his mother, who no longer was married to his father and could not come to the U.S.

"It's been tough, first, going through life with your mother (in that situation), and then going through the second half of your 22 years without her," Hali said. "You deal with it and work through it."

The story goes on:

Hali has applied to be a U.S citizen and is awaiting word as to when he will take the test. When he becomes a citizen, he will be free to bring his mother over.

She doesn't understand the notion of football right now, but she knows her son plays the game. When she gets here, she also understand the perks that go with playing the game -- maybe more so than another mother in the league.

"It's going to be very drastic for her," he said. "She's going to go from living in, like, a hut, to living in a nice home, which she's never lived in before."

Hali laughed when he said that. He does that a lot, in fact. That's what appreciation for life can do to somebody. Hali clearly has that and more.

Everyone here at PSU knows this story, and we know that there has never been a bad word or rumor about Tamba Hali. A class act all the way, and something that has gone right.


pman said...

Tamba Hali is an inspiration to all. I am pretty sure he will be an early draft pick. I remember days when all me and roomies would wait for the defence to come on so we cheer his plays.

erudit said...

Great story, thanks!

Back in the day I used to work in Pollock Halls dining hall, and often in the football players' dining room. I used to pray for them a lot, knowing the kind of influence they had and would have.

Good reminder to keep praying for the alma mater!