Boomer’s Still Battling Cystic Fibrosis

Excerpt
In A Boy Named Boomer published in 1995, Boomer Esiason offers children a few lessons from his childhood, like the importance of giving others a chance. He tells about choosing a kid who was always picked last for the neighborhood baseball game. This kid struck out, was tagged out and dropped a fly ball. But the experience was meaningful for Boomer. “It made me work harder—and be a better player,” he writes. “After that, I always picked the weakest player to be on my team. I hoped that one day someone would pick me for something I’m not good at.”

The book’s lessons on how to be a stand-up guy may be aimed at second-graders, but they speak to the kind of character that molded Boomer Esiason into the competitor and father he is today.

Norman Julius “Boomer” Esiason was born April 17, 1961, in West Islip, N.Y. His nickname, given in utero by his mother—who said he never stopped kicking—stuck throughout his childhood, his days as a University of Maryland quarterback, and his stellar National Football League career. Today he’s in broadcasting on CBS-TV and on radio.

But none of these career highlights could diminish the painful news that rocked Esiason in 1993, when his 2-year-old son, Gunnar, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. “My initial thought was, What would my dad do?, and he was the first call that I made. He basically said, ‘You know what you have to do. It’s your responsibility. You have to be there for him; you have to be there for your wife. You have to be there for your entire family. There’s no stepping down from this; there’s no walking away from this. There’s no compromise—this is something that has been brought to you in your life.’

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