She objected to the sport of football, because he was undersized. She thought it safer if he concentrated on his schoolwork. Lane tried to be a good son but he felt he was born to play the game. He continued to play through high school and 1 year at a small junior college. Lane was a good player but he saw no realistic future in either academics or football so he joined the U.S. Army. He served with distinction during peacetime and during the Korean War before returning to civilian life. He worked as a faceless drone in an airplane factory and longed to play the sport he still loved.
On a whim, he walked in, uninvited and unwanted, to the nearby offices of the Los Angeles Rams. He showed them his scrapbook of clippings and honors from high school and junior college and somehow talked the Rams into allowing him a try-out as an offensive end. The coaches were skeptical and dismissive, until they saw him play. His raw speed and energetic aggressiveness were impressive, but the Rams had no need for his services because they already had several Hall-of-Famers in waiting at that position. Lane talked the coach into letting him try defensive back, a position he’d never played. He had no idea about technique or form or coverage schemes. He just played hard and chased the ball. In spite of his inexperience, and the initial reluctance of the Rams, Lane set an interception record in his rookie year that still stands, unapproached.
He was a gambler who went for broke and took plenty of chances on interceptions. Somehow, most of his dangerous plays succeeded. In addition, he gained a quick and lasting impression as one of the hardest hitters to ever play in the secondary. In particular, he excelled at open-field tackles and in run support. His aggressiveness prompted him to become the first cornerback to blitz, and the ploy became one of his signatures, along with his brutal tackling. Lane was fast, agile, and tough. He had a fierce determination to succeed because he never wanted to return to the assembly-line life of an automaton factory worker.
He was a loyal and supportive teammate who never forgot his modest beginnings. A teammate said, “Whatever he did, he did it for the team.” He grew from a small kid who had a big heart into a big man with a bigger heart. His success is proof that miracles happen, and that every great man is born with a specific destiny. Night Train sped down his track of greatness. Follow yours, and become great, too.
From October 2010, http://raising-a-man.tumblr.com