Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pep Talk: "Keeping Up With Kateree

“Keep dreaming, never quit and realize God has a hand on the small on our backs,” offered former Denver Broncos’ running back Terrell Davis during remarks at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. “He is there supporting, propelling and guiding us.”

Amen dude.

A young bartender at a downtown Los Angeles watering hole was getting an education on the Denver sports scene. After an extensive search near the hotel where your knucklehead scribe was staying, an establishment was discovered with simultaneous Saturday coverage of the HOF induction AND the Rockies/Philadelphia contest from Coors Field. Lucky me.

To anybody within earshot, a former television sports guy could not resist sharing a few stories about the unheralded sixth-round draft pick from Georgia. If memory serves me correct, it was Davis’ 1995 rookie season with the Broncos. Back then, CBS4 Denver (where I worked) was “Home of the Denver Broncos.” I was assigned to do a story on a player who had gone from long-shot of making the team to starter. Davis was living in a modest two-bedroom apartment near the Broncos’ team headquarters in the south Denver area. The extra bedroom was for his mother, Kateree, who visited often for extended stays. I also recall, at the time, Davis wore braces on his teeth. The future star was just a kid.

A talented running back had burst onto the pro football scene and was the toast of the Mile High City while still under mother’s watchful eyes. Davis’ father, Joe, died when TD was 14. Much of that long ago story centered on a loving mother’s influence. It was certainly felt in our short time together.

Fast forward more than two decades, I’m sitting at Hooters near the Staples Center and sharing cherished memories with anybody willing to listen. Suddenly, ESPN’s cameras shifted from TD to his mother. “There she is!” I shouted about a proud woman sitting in the stands with tears streaming down her cheeks. The server, who moved from Egypt to California to pursue acting dreams, shrugged her shoulders and moved to help others. 

A young woman’s indifference to my enthusiasm could not dampen admiration still felt, more than 20 years later, for a mother who raised eight children with a loving, nurturing and gentle touch. My mind could not avoid wandering to A Stronger Cord's current efforts, in partnership with the Denver Dream Center and others, in reaching kids/moms who live in Denver’s public housing communities. They lack the healthy “supporting, propelling and guiding” philosophy Davis emphasized in his induction speech. 

The heartwarming moment in Canton, Ohio ended with Davis, not surprisingly, giving the now infamous “Mile High” salute to his beautiful wife and three kids, Broncos’ fans in attendance and a national television audience. However, the biggest salute went to his mother. The always present guardian of his dreams.

Keeping up with Kateree in our influence. Not an easy chore. To all “supporting, propelling and guiding” the lives and dreams of today’s children and others, TD’s salute is for you too. Keep up the noble and necessary work!

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