Meet the Real MVP's of Sunday's Superbowl
Jason Pierre-Paul's parents, Marie and Jean. Sun Sentinal
A Milestone Monday Feature
Jason Pierre-Paul was just nine months old when his Father lost sight in one eye while driving. Within weeks, Jean Pierre-Paul was blind, the victim of a viral infection that destroyed his sight. His Mother Marie became the sole breadwinner for the family, working long hours in the housekeeping department of a hotel.
Jean stayed home and cared for Jason. He and his wife taught their Son great lessons in perserverance as they adjusted to meet the challenges life handed them.
Almost thirty years ago, the family came to the United States, settling in Florida. Jason attended Deerfield Beach High School and actually played basketball until a serious leg injury sidelined him, but then another MVP came into his life.
In his junior year, Jason signed up for a geometry class taught by Manny Martin, who happened to be defensive coordinator for the school's football team. Martin jokingly told Jason that in order to pass the class, he'd have to play football. The rest is history.
There was a problem though. Jason worked after school at Boston Market to help the family with their rent. Marie was working as a domestic and finances were tight. Martin went to Jason's boss at Boston Market and they worked out a schedule so he could keep his job and still make practices. Jason would leave practice and go straight to work. often he would work until midnight and then get up early to make it to high school. The superstar remembers this as the hardest year of his life.
He went to three colleges: College of the Canyons in California, Fort Scott Community College in Kansas and finally University of South Florida. He was drafted by the Giants in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Sunday his Dad went to Indianapolis to attend his first-ever NFL game. He listened as his Son matched wits with Tom Brady, rushing and batting down passes against one of the best quarterbacks in the game. It had to have been an amazing day for Jean and Marie! [1.]
Blind Man in the Bleachers
He's just the blind man in the bleachers to the local hometown fans
And he sits beneath the speakers way back in the stands
And he listens to the play by play, he's just waiting for one name
He wants to hear his son get in the game
But the boy's just not a hero, he's strictly second team
Though he runs each night for touchdowns in his fathers sweetest dreams
He's gonna be a star someday though you might never tell
But the blind man in the bleachers knows he will
And the last game of the season is a Friday night at home
And no one knows the reason but the blind man didn't come
And his boy looks kinda nervous,sometimes turns around and stares
Just as though he sees the old man sitting there
Well, the local boys are tryin' but they slowly lose their will
Another players down and now he's carried from the field
At halftime in the locker room the kid goes off alone
And no one sees him talkin' on the phone
And the games already started when he gets back to the team
And half the crowd can hear his coach yell, "Where the hell you been?"
"Just getting' ready for the second half", is all he'll say
"Cause now you're gonna let me in to play"
And without another word he turns and runs into the game
And though the silence on the field, loudspeakers call his name
It'll make the local papers how the team came from behind
When they saw him playing out his heart to win
And when the game was over the coach asked him to tell
What was it he was thinkin' of that made him play so well
"Well, you knew my Dad was blind", he said, "Tonight he passed away"
"It's the first time that my father's seen me play"