Long ago, when I decided on a career as a sports journalist, it was done with the intent from my athletic background to win. In my mind, winning always was about doing my best. But this week has been an out-of-body experience.
You'd think it would have sunk in by now. I was at University of Phoenix Stadium two weeks ago to witness the Cardinals' 32-25 NFC Championship Game victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. I saw my son shatter Jerry Rice's NFL record for receiving yards in the playoffs (419 in three games) and score three touchdowns. And now I'll see my son in the Super Bowl.
It's such an exciting time, yet it's another powerful reminder that my wife, Carol, isn't here to experience this; Carol passed away six years ago. I'm very emotional, especially every time someone asks me about my wife or the hundreds of calls and e-mails that remind me of what a great job she and I did in raising Larry Jr. to be the great person he has become. I didn't say football player, because that's what he does for a living. However, it doesn't define who he is.
Carol and I raised Larry Jr. and his younger brother, Marcus, in the church and always taught them to dream big and set goals. Larry Jr. had so much energy as a kid that many times, when we were out as a family, he would walk ahead of us. Now I have so much energy, you'd think I was going to play on Sunday. But it's my son, who in many ways has put his team on his back the last month and willed the Cardinals to the Super Bowl.
But is this personal for me? Yes. However, I'm a professional -- this is what I do for a living. I enjoy watching and analyzing what's happening in front of me. I have a God-given ability to separate what I do -- and have to do -- while watching my oldest son compete.
So at 6:28 p.m. ET on Sunday, I'll be in my press-seat location at Raymond James Stadium. And on the inside, emotional pride will raise a storm.
But mentally and on the outside, I'll be focused on my job, which is to cover Super Bowl XLIII -- Pittsburgh against Arizona. I can do that because I have done it all my life. This just happens to be the biggest game of my son's life.