You'd have to have lived under the huey p. Long bridge for the last 6 years or so not to know who Steve Gleason is. This past summer, a statue outside the Mercedes Benz Superdome will forever remind us all just how important Steve Gleason is to our city and to our beloved Saints.
I have always been a fan of special teams especially the "gunners" who thrust and project themselves in chunks of yards towards the bullseye that is the kick returner. The timing is critical and the amount of momentum gained from the snap is unrelenting. In recent years, Steve Gleason was a joy to watch on the field. More often then not you would see him bolt accross the field, with his hair being pulled almost vertical from the back of his helmet by the wind, and perfectly time a upending tackle for a loss on the returner. My friends, besides a sack, and maybe a smack on an opposing receiver by the safety across the middle, nothing was more exciting than seeing a great tackle on special teams like the many Steve accomplished in his 7 years as a Saint.
After 5 years as a Saint, Steve Gleason's tenacity and talent will forever be cemented in our minds and hearts. On September 25, 2006, the first game in The Superdome after Katrina, Steve blocked a Falcon's kick which allowed us to recover and propel us to victory. I may have cried more at the end of that game than I did when we won the NFC Championship in 2009. It was an extremely cathartic moment for a lot of us here in New Orleans and I will never forget that play and the emotions I felt.
Just this past Sunday, The 2nd Annual Gleason Gras, an event put on by The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, The New Orleans Saints, Rehage Entertainment and his foundation Team Gleason (To raise public awareness towards ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), went off without a hitch, seeing support from thousands of fans as well as some top notch musical talent and food from over a dozen restaurants.
Gleason Gras was a huge success and has become a major part of Team Gleason's outreach. I've always been inspired by Steve and have been following his life and career for quite some time. Each time I've interacted with him around the city, I've felt nothing but warmth, kindness, and insane amount of joy.
As I was watching the game, tweeting & re-tweeting, following along with fellow Saints fans on Twitter, my feed blew up likened to an election or even a win by the Saints with word that Steve was rushed to the hospital with "flu-like" symptoms directly from the dome. Words could not describe the almost instantaneous outpouring of hashtags #NoWhiteFlags and get well soon messages being sent Steve's way. I too was concerned about Steve just like the folks within the twittersphere. Here's the update directly from NOLA.com...
With the help of Superdome staff, friends and family he was taken to Ochsner Medical Center. Doctors, nurses and staff helped stabilize Steve's symptoms and monitored him overnight. He is being released from the hospital this afternoon and will follow up with his primary care doctor over the next 48 hours.
Steve and Michel are incredibly grateful to friends, family, Ochsner, the Saints, and the public for their continued love and support.
Steve is no stranger to overcoming adversity and obstacles. So, despite spending the night in the hospital after an incredible day of Gleason Gras and watching the first quarter of the Saints/Eagles game, Steve is ready to get back to work with Team Gleason.
After hearing about Steve last night during the Saints Monday Night game, I wanted to go back to the statue and capture it and feel inspired by it and by Steve. I can't help wanting to embrace "No White Flags" in my own daily life. Below are a few videos meant to inspire and stir up your emotions. Enjoy and No White Flags...
Steve Gleason statue dedication at Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Team Gleason Experiment Trailer