It’s obvious to those readers my nonsense attracts, that I’m a sappy old man. I love stories of unlikely heroes, I love feel good stories, comeback stories and stories of a generosity of spirit. What follows is a combination of all five types. Allow me to introduce you to Will Shipley.
It’s not being overly dramatic to call Shipley pretty special because he is. If the goal of a man is to make the world a better place then count Shipley as a man amongst boys. Like his coach and mentor, Dabo Swinney, Shipley is a budding philanthropist.
Poetically scripted, on a hot, bright, sunny day in Charlotte, Shipley followed through on his commitment. He used proceeds from the sale of his Ship Happens T-shirts with Tiger Town Graphics and through the Tiger Impact Initiative Collaborative to help support the lifesaving work being done at Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital.
If you remember, this entire endeavor began with a late-night phone call from Swinney, suggesting the idea. He followed through on his pledge which qualifies Shipley as a hero. It’s easy, as a card-carrying member of all things orange to tout Shipley’s gift as remarkable but honestly, it describes it perfectly.
Shipley and others like him have decided to be a ‘giver-backer’ not so much an ‘always-taker’. He modestly made a comment after his NIL sponsorship to produce the T-shrts was announced, saying his gift might not be big but it was his hope to help in any way, no matter the amount. Well, I think a $10,000 gift is anything but small.
It seems we tend to seek out stories that involve the excessive, greedy aspects of this new behemoth of a mess called Name, Image, and Likeness. Those stories are everywhere and while it’s no longer illegal to buy a player, I’ve grown tired of seeing amateur athletes sporting a $60,000 truck and hawking fried chicken. I look deeper for the good.
Life is all about the choices one makes and if a truck or a sports car or a speed boat is your choice then, good for you but you’re not quite on the level of a real hero. Why? Because your choice changes only your world, not the whole world. A gift from the heart, no matter the type nor the amount, is the best kind because giving such a gift, inspires others to give.
Generosity not sports cars changes the world. I’m thankful for the real heroes amongst us, those heroes like Shipley. He’s an inspiration to all, both on and off the field.
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