King Of Commenting ’09 Champ – “Bitter Sweetness”
The King has claimed his throne. So to speak. Stewmangi, better known as Stew Martinez, had 500 words to throw in the rest of your faces, simply for winning; and he did. Only he didn’t.
Stew sent in his Winner’s Blog and I first read it anticipating a jab here and a punch there, surrounded by endless gloating. Hey, he who wears the crown, makes the rules. And usually those rules suck for everyone else.
But Stew took a different approach. He decided to tell us a little bit about himself, in a very intimate way. Not only that, but he wants to spread awareness about a disease that is both very real, and very deadly.
If this was a Rick Reilly piece, it would probably start out like this:
Every now and then we see something unusually great in sports. Even more seldom, we see sports do something great for humanity. The NFL had one of those chances with Super Bowl XLIII. It blew that chance. And Stew Martinez wants to know why.
(Good thing I’m not Rick Reilly…)
Super Bowl XLIII was memorable for many reasons. An awesome game with twists and turns including a 99 yard interception return for a touchdown and of course, Roethlisberger to Holmes. Yet the excitement of that glorious Sunday was tarnished by one omission that I find truly unforgivable. I am sure no one noticed this glaring omission. In fact, that is the very problem.
Before the start of the Big Game, the NFL awarded the annual Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to Kurt Warner. No beef there. Yet during the festivities and recap of who Walter Payton was on and off the field there was no mention of the rare liver disease that ended his life at such an early age. The disease of course, is Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), where the bile ducts of the liver ceases functioning, resulting in the ultimate death of the liver from its failure to remove the toxins and waste from the body. Currently there is no cure and the only hope for survival is a liver transplant. Walter was diagnosed too late to receive a new liver that would have extended his life.
Eighteen months ago I was diagnosed with PSC. It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions for my family and I. The physical toll has been difficult as the symptoms of the disease are constant itching, chronic fatigue and an almost complete shutdown of one’s metabolism. My only hope of seeing my son grow up is to have a liver transplant.
This is my gripe with the NFL: Why not use the most watched game of the year, to educate the population of an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people who have PSC or other diseases that require transplants? Walter spent the last few months of his life encouraging the country to become organ donors to save the lives of those who would come after him. People like me. Therefore I feel I owe Sweetness my deepest gratitude, but I also owe him my energy and strength to continue the fight against this disease and the fight to save lives through organ donation.
Therefore as your King of Commenting, I am encouraging all of you to do your part in educating the masses of PSC and the value of organ donation. If you have time check out PSC Partners Seeking a Cure Foundation for ways that you can help in funding research for this disease.
If not for your King, than do it for Sweetness.
-Stew Martinez, King of Commenting Champion 2009