“Like Father, Like Son” Award Event

I looked forward to this special award event. On the Saturday preceding the Super Bowl here in Houston, I attended the NFL-sanctioned Athletes in Action Super Bowl Breakfast. Since 1988, Athletes in Action has held this event to honor an NFL player with the Bart Starr Award. More likely known perhaps as the MVP of Super Bowl I and II and NFL Hall of Fame, Bart Starr’s NFL legacy off-the-field is relived each year at this breakfast. His commitment to family and community faithfully through the years continues to be a role model for athletes and business people alike. One Bart Starr legacy highlight is his lifelong support of Rawhide Boys Ranch in Wisconsin.
The Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award was created to annually honor an NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.  This year’s recipient of the award was Matthew Slater who currently plays for the New England Patriots.
Matthew is highly involved in the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, partnering with many organizations such as Play 60, Make-A-Wish, and Read Between the Lines. Slater received the Ron Burton Community Service Award in 2016 for his dedication to the community of New England; he looks at football as a vehicle God has given him to reach people. He recruited some of his fellow Patriots to attend his “Matthew vs. Matthew” charity event this past October, a dinner and raffle to benefit Samaritan’s Purse in their relief efforts following Hurricane Matthew.
Slater’s father, Jackie Slater, received the Bart Starr Award in 1996, making the Slaters the first father-son duo to ever win the award. Growing up, Matthew Slater’s mother would drop him and his brother at church on Sundays and pick them up a bit early to watch his father’s NFL games. Slater certainly had a wonderful example of leadership and character to look up to in his childhood that paved the way for his later success.
For me, this award event and the namesake legacy is a “triple-threat” of tribute architecture. And it has both the value of honoring history and legacy, while also setting up expectations and example for the future … a big ‘W’ on the life’s most important scoreboard.

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