Thursday, November 05, 2009

A True Champion

For the record, the following isn't bandwagon-jumping -- just giving praise where it's due.

Less than three hours after taking the 27th championship he eyed from day one, Yankee skipper Joe Giardi didn't let the title get to his head.

The Westchester Journal-News tells the story:
On his way home from winning the World Series, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi stopped to help a woman who had lost control of her car on the Cross County Parkway and crashed into a wall.

“The guy wins the World Series, what does he do? He stops to help,” said Westchester County police officer Kathleen Cristiano, who was among the first to arrive at the accident scene. “It was totally surreal.”...

The crash happened at 2:25 a.m. today on the eastbound lanes along a long blind curve where the Cross County meets the Hutchinson River Parkway prior to the New Rochelle Road exit, police said.

Police were in the area conducting a driving while intoxicated checkpoint on the parkway. In fact, about 15 minutes earlier, Girardi had passed through a driving while intoxicated checkpoint on the parkway. Cristiano, who was working the checkpoint, congratulated him on his first win as a manager and waved him through....

“He came through with a smile,” Cristiano said.

Cristiano, a self-described huge Yankees fan, said she hadn’t expect to see either one of then again. But then a 911 call came through about a car accident a short distance away, and so officers suspended the checkpoint and responded to the crash. As she came upon the accident scene, in an area where the parkway’s two lanes turn into three and cars speed by the curve that takes them to the Hutchinson Parkway, Cristiano spotted Girardi.

“He was jumping up and down, trying to flag me down,” she said. “You don’t expect him standing by a car accident trying to help.”

Cristiano said by the time she arrived, the driver, Marie Henry, 27, of Stratford, Conn., was able to get out of the crashed vehicle and declined to be taken to the hospital.

Girardi, who was dressed in a casual T-shirt and jeans, then told them he “had to get going.”

Cristiano and Henry both thanked him and watched as he ran across traffic again to reach his car.

“The driver didn’t know it was him until after I told her,” Cristiano said.

The area is notorious for its blind spots, and Girardi, who had parked his car along the right side of the parkway, and then run across the traffic to get to the injured motorist, put his life at risk, police said.

“He could have gotten killed,” county Sgt. Thomas McGurn said, adding that responding police units take extra precaution in that area because of the blind curve and speeding cars. “Traffic goes by at 80 mph.”
(Via Gary Stern.)

Regardless of what team we love, gang, that's what really makes a champion in this life.

On an added note, the Illinois-born skip is a product of the now-closed Spalding Institute in Peoria -- the same high school that produced none other than the great Fulton Sheen, who journeyed to his TV studio in the sky 30 years ago next month.