Willis, Posluszny beating long odds

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS – Patrick Willis and Paul Posluszny grew up in different worlds. One considered attending the Naval Academy and representing his country on the battlefield if he couldn’t become the next Western Pennsylvania kid to star at Penn State. The other dreamed of creating a better life for his siblings in the South. Willis endured the kind of childhood experiences no youngster should. The real-life nightmare began when his mother left home, abandoned her four children and forced them to fend for themselves with an uninterested father. Willis was 4 years old. Two years later, Willis was cooking meals for his siblings and, by age 10, was working in Tennessee’s cotton fields with his grandmother for $110 per week. The money went to his dad so he could pay the family’s bills. As a teenager, the situation worsened. When Willis learned his father was abusing his sister, Ernicka, he turned him in to child services and Willis and his siblings suddenly needed to find a new family. When Chris and Julie Finley took in Willis and became his legal guardians, things changed. Willis eventually earned a scholarship to Mississippi and began emerging as one of the Rebels top players. Their divergent paths have crossed here, at the NFL’s annual scouting combine, where the award-winning linebackers are vying to become first-round picks in April’s NFL draft. “It would be a blessing, especially the way I grew up,” Willis said, when asked what he would do with his riches. “It would help me take care of those who helped me along the way and make sure that if I have children they won’t have to go through what I went through.” center_img But just when it seemed everything finally was going right, Willis’ 17-year-old brother, Detris, a two-way starter on his high school football team in Bruceton, Tenn., drowned while swimming. Willis delivered the eulogy. He played his senior season like he a man on a mission. Willis finished with 137 tackles, 111/2 for losses and three sacks. He was an All-American, the SEC’s defensive player of the year and the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker. He also earned the coveted Chucky Mullins Courage Award. Last month, he added the Senior Bowl’s defensive MVP award to his list of honors. “My real-life experience taught me how to compete through adversity,” he said. “No matter what happens, if someone knocks you down, you have to find a way to get up and get the job done. That’s what you have to do.” Posluszny’s road to the combine took a more conventional route. After sweeping the 2005 Butkus and Bednarik awards, most figured he was off to the NFL. Yes, Posluszny admitted he contemplated leaving school early – until one play late in last year’s Orange Bowl took away that option. When Posluszny tried to leap over a block by Lorenzo Booker, the Florida State running back hit Posluszny in the knee with his helmet. The toughest Nittany Lion on the roster couldn’t just shake off this one; two ligaments were partially torn. Posluszny feared he might need surgery, but doctors said he simply needed rest. To Posluszny, it was an agonizing two months. “It was long, long and boring,” he said. “The injury wasn’t very significant, but it was a long rehab process.” The other part was Posluszny had to start all over and prove to scouts he could make it all the way back to his old form. The way teams look at it, they can’t go wrong. Both are talented, tested and terrific on the field. And in a world where team officials often talk about needing “character guys,” they will be hard-pressed to find two more compelling cases than those offered by Posluszny’s comeback and Willis’ fight for survival. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Tamarindo Talk

first_imgNo related posts. Under the new parent-led board of trustees, Country Day School Guanacaste (CDS-G) has reduced tuition by 26 percent for students who will attend during the 2014-15 school year. In addition, they will apply these new rates those students who transfer into the second semester beginning Jan. 15, 2014. Parents with more than one child at CDS-G will receive an additional 10 percent discount on additional tuition.According to Bruce McKillican, co-chair of the board of trustees, the school’s lower tuition and monthly payment plan will make it possible for many more families in the community to access quality education and put their children on a path to a good university.“Country Day School Guanacaste has just become a more attractive alternative for local families who may want to consider a U.S. college in the future,” McKillican said. “Country Day’s definitive curriculum, U.S. diploma and flexible advanced placement courses will create options for a wide range of students with varying GPAs, not only the overachievers with an A average and an SAT score above 2000.”The new tuition plan is integral to CDS-G’s vision of becoming known throughout Costa Rica as Guanacaste’s college prep school. For more information, contact Principal Sarah Haun at 2654-5042 x 6100 or email [email protected]    Amigos de la Educacion is a registered nonprofit organization in Costa Rica supporting education within a 20-mile radius of Tamarindo. Students in need receive scholarships based on academic performance, attendance and social responsibility. Schools may receive assistance for building materials, teaching supplies and books for student use. Amigos de la Educacion helps students and schools in Cartagena, 27th de Abril, Villa Real, Huacas, El Lanito, La Garita, Matapalo and Portegolpe. The organization has also recently added four new high school scholarships, and its first university student will be graduating next year. Amigos is currently seeking volunteers from within the community. For more info, call 2653-1945 or email [email protected], a flower shop has landed right here in town. Colette and Nick Holmes have opened the place in the Sunrise Plaza, next door to Monkey N Croc toy store. Not only can you find fresh cut flowers, but also balloon bouquets, as well as gifts for any occasion. Stop in or call 8418-0006.The fantastic Patagonia Argentinian Grill & Restaurant, and its sister restaurant Bamboo Sushi Club, have extended their hours for the high season. Both will now be open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.   -Ellen Zoe [email protected] Facebook Commentslast_img read more