They let me do my job without interruption. Their reward, offered by Aaron, was an autographed copy of his book.
They accepted. We still have the book with the inscription, “To Pete & Jake. Best Wishes. Hank Aaron.”
The Notorious Woody Brothers have been around. They attended the training camp of what is now the Washington Football team for a number of years.
Jake, now 41, went with me to training camp for the first time when he was 6 years old. I had cleared his attendance with Joe Gibbs, then the Redskins’ head coach. His training camp. His rules. If Gibbs had said no, I would have been disappointed, but would have understood. Instead, Gibbs understood.
When the first practice Jake attended ended, Gibbs walked past a group of writers on his way to the locker room. He saw Jake, looked at me, nodded toward Jake, whose back was to Gibbs, and softly said, “Is that him?”
Gibbs walked to Jake, placed his hands on his shoulders, looked down at him as Jake looked up and back to see who was behind him, placing adult-sized hands on his shoulders.
Gibbs, like most coaches and many athletes, amateur and professional, is great with kids. He asked Jake how he’d liked practice. He told Jake to behave so he wouldn’t have to fine him like he did the players who got out of line. And then Gibbs said, “Listen. Do. Not. Play. This game. Play golf. Play tennis. But don’t play this game.”
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