By: Resource and Expansion Consultant Jason Sweet, Saginaw Valley State ’09

Junior SeauI am writing this blog less than 24 hours after the passing of one of the NFL’s greatest players and men: Junior Seau.

I have to admit that while his passing is extremely tragic, I still went about my normal day yesterday and today until just a few moments ago. A news article made me stop and think. The article published an e-mail submitted by Albert Flores Jr., a U.S. Marine Corps captain describing his chance encounter with Seau.

What hit me so hard about this article was Capt. Flores recounting  Seau’s genuine character, how this iconic and legendary sports figure cared so much about who he was and what he did, how Seau called Flores a hero!

A football player, especially one with the kind of on-field tenacity and determination as Seau, would normally be unapproachable because of his status as a superstar. He should be tough and self-centered, arrogant and uninterested in others. At least those are the things I would assume.

But clearly that wasn’t the case.

Think about all the times you have developed your own preconceived notions about someone, whether they are good or bad. That because they are “this” then they must act like “that,” because they dress like “this” then they must be like “that.” Flores got a chance to see the difference between perception and reality, to see the man behind the superstar, a man who is just like us. Even further, Seau lived his life in a way that didn’t allow preconception to control the reality of he who was in the eyes of others.

I write this blog inspired. Inspired to live my life a bit more like both of these men. To have the confidence and vulnerability of Capt. Flores, to be able to meet people and break down my own preconceived notions of them. To have the genuine curiosity and authenticity of Seau, to be able to love the people around me and learn more about who they are.

Not only will this help make me a better recruiter (for my job) and a better Phi Tau (for my passion), but I will be a better man (for others). Take this journey with me, and add another person to the list of people we live our lives in memory and honor of every day.