Posted on: November 2, 2009 4:21 pm

Fathers mistakes serve as lessons for Mark Ingram

Here is a great story about runningback Mark Ingram and his dad.

By Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY

Alabama sophomore running back Mark Ingram had carried or caught the ball 321 times in his college career without giving up a fumble, so when he lost the ball in the fourth quarter of a tight game against Tennessee, he took the turnover particularly hard.
His father, also named Mark, had watched the Crimson Tide's last game from the Queens Correctional Center in New York and called, as always, to discuss the game. Talking through it with his father helped immensely.

"I was kinda beating myself up about it," the son says, "and he just said, 'They just made a great play.' I'm over it now. You have to live and learn."

The son uses the same phrase to describe how difficult it has been with his father, a former NFL wide receiver and 1987 first-round draft pick of the New York Giants, facing perhaps close to 10 years in prison.

"You have to live with it," Ingram says. "Nothing we can do about it now, just make the best out of the situation that you can. Live and learn from situations. He's made some mistakes, and he's a better man because of it. He just wants to help me and my sisters be the best when we grow up, and he wants us to learn from his mistakes and not make them ourselves."

The story of a father, who is awaiting sentencing for failing to report to a federal prison last December after he was convicted on money laundering and bank fraud charges, should not be the story of the son, the nation's leading Heisman Trophy contender. But, even behind bars, the father is an important part of his son's life, just as he always has been.

The two talk two to three times a week, and Ingram Sr. has been able to watch every one of his son's games in prison, according to his wife, Shonda. Their bond during this trying time "says a lot about Mark," says Alabama coach Nick Saban, who is close to both. "Mark Sr. is a good person who cares about his kids."

Through his lawyer, Ingram Sr. declined to be interviewed at a prison just across the Hudson River from where he had his greatest moments as a pro, where he is best remembered for his tackle-breaking run in the 1991 Super Bowl.

"He doesn't want his problems to affect his son," attorney Jim Neville says. "He wants to stay out of it. He's had enough time in the limelight, in good ways years ago when he was playing football and in bad ways. He doesn't want to have this distract his son in any way or have any of that come on to his son."

The Alabama football team was off this past weekend, so Ingram was home in Flint, Mich., eating his mom's cube steak, rice and gravy, helping his three younger sisters get ready for Halloween and watching football. It was a much-needed break during a pressure-filled season.

No. 3 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) hosts No. 9 LSU (7-1, 4-1) on Saturday, the only remaining ranked team on the Crimson Tide's schedule. Alabama can clinch the SEC West title with a win and would then meet No. 1 Florida on Dec. 5 in the SEC title game.

The biggest factor in the Crimson Tide's offensive success has been the 5-10, 215-pound Ingram, who ranks first in the SEC and fifth nationally with 125.5 rushing yards a game. He leads the Crimson Tide with 11 touchdowns (eight rushing, three receiving). His most astounding statistic: Of his 1,190 yards this season (1,004 rushing, 186 receiving), Ingram has gained 645 yards after contact, 54% of his total yards.

After Ingram ran for a career-high 246 yards Oct. 17 against South Carolina, he vaulted to the top of many Heisman lists. Despite its storied football tradition, Alabama never has had a Heisman winner. Heart and passion define Ingram's play, Saban says. His yards after contact are a result of speed, quickness, change of direction and power.

"He has the ability to make you miss, but he also has the strength to run through tackles, and when you can do both those things sometimes the tackles aren't the best tackles because you're avoiding them," Saban says. "Then, you still have the strength and the power to break those tackles even though they're not getting great hits on you."

Ingram's father taught him to explode through every tackle and instilled a competitive drive, even in preschool.

"When Little Mark was 4, they would play basketball, and his dad never let him win," Shonda says. "He would cry and cry because my husband would beat him pretty bad in basketball and I would get mad, but he was teaching him to compete. They used to go at it with everything in a competitive nature, and that prepared him for later. They always did everything together — run, play basketball, golf, throw the football, hit some baseballs. His dad spent a lot of time teaching him how to compete, and that's why he's like that."

Ask Little Mark what he learned from his dad about football, and his answer is simple: "Everything. From A to Z. How to hold the ball, how to tackle, how to make a juke move. Everything. How to read a defense, how to run a route, how to throw the ball, all the fundamental stuff he taught me. I learned everything about the game about him.

"When I was little, I used to watch his college tapes. He was really good. I recorded over one of them once; he was really mad about that. I catch some pro clips every now and then around Super Bowl time."

Shonda, a social worker in Flint, jokes that her family should get some credit for her son's athleticism. She was a high school track athlete and her father, Art Johnson, played football for Michigan State.

Shonda and Mark Sr. both attended Michigan State in the mid-1980s when Saban was a Spartans assistant. One of Saban's jobs at the time was to keep tabs on his wide receiver. The best way to do that was to call his girlfriend.

"He would call me and make sure Mark got to class, make sure he was where he was supposed to be," Shonda says.

"I didn't know if I should bring that up or not during recruiting," Saban says, laughing.

When Mark decided on Alabama, the Ingrams knew their son would be in good hands.

"When he came to visit, we trusted him, felt like I had a relationship with him," Shonda says.

In the midst of his standout freshman season, when he led the Crimson Tide with 12 rushing touchdowns and set the Alabama freshman record, his father was sentenced to 92 months in prison. At sentencing, Ingram Sr. asked the judge to postpone the start of the prison term until February 2009 so he could watch his son play his freshman season. Instead, the judge ordered him to report to federal prison in December. When Ingram Sr. failed to report, he was arrested by U.S. marshals Jan. 2, the same day his son was playing in the Sugar Bowl against Utah. As a result, Ingram Sr., whose criminal record included two prior stints in prison, could have two years added to the original sentence, according to his lawyer.

"I knew it was hard on Mark. It affected him a little bit, but he showed a lot of maturity in how he handled it and how he persevered," Saban says.

The extended family in Flint has leaned on one another through the heartache and is focused on love, forgiveness and moving on.

"As long as he's able to talk his dad," Shonda says. "His father has always been there for him, it's never stopped. He's been able to watch all the games. He's still coaching him. This year a little different with him not being here. But with Mark being away from home, it's like just his dad is gone (as opposed to being in prison). We're a real close family. We'll pull though no matter what, that's what my husband would want us to do. Everything will still run like it always has, even though he's not here, we'll keep going."

Once his father is sentenced, which is scheduled for this month, he will be sent to federal prison, where he might not be able to see his son play.

"Of course, I'm looking forward to the day he can see me play in person," Ingram says. "But we're just really focused on taking one day at a time and not worrying about too far down the road."

Through it all, Saban has told Ingram to just focus on making his parents proud.

"My big message to him was what will make your parents, your dad, everyone feel proud is if you're doing well in school and as a person and on the field," Saban says. "Regardless of the issues and what the problems are, that's going to make them proud. That's one way you can do something positive for everyone involved here."

It's worked. "I'm really proud," Shonda says. "I feel like I'm in a dream. Really proud. His father used to always say that he was special."

And would probably say the same today.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: July 11, 2009 6:03 pm

Very funny blog post. You won't regret reading

Well the past few blog posts have been the more serious types that make you think about what's important in life. I was looking at some t-shirts online yesterday and I came across this shirt that had 3 wolves on it. Well in the comments was one of the funniest things I have ever read on the internet. Some guy gave a review of the shirt after he bought it. Here is that comment. Enjoy and have a nice day.

This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called meth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him.

I arrived at Wal-mart, mounted my courtesy-scooter (walking is such a drag!) sitting side saddle so that my wolves would show. While I was browsing tube socks, I could hear aroused asthmatic breathing behind me. I turned around to see a slightly sweaty dream in sweatpants and flip-flops standing there. She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt.

Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.                     

Category: General
Tags: Joke
Posted on: June 21, 2009 11:40 pm

Pixar grants a 10 year old girl her dying wish

This is a very sad story. I read it and had to put it on here for people to read. I found it on some Orange County News site. Here's the article.

From the minute Colby saw the
previews to the Disney-Pixar movie Up, she was desperate to see it. Colby had been diagnosed with vascular cancer about three years ago, said her mother, Lisa Curtin, and at the beginning of this month it became apparent that she would die soon and was too ill to be moved to a theater to see the film.

After a family friend made frantic calls to Pixar to help grant Colby her dying wish, Pixar came to the rescue.

The company flew an employee with a DVD of Up, which is only in theaters, to the Curtins’ Huntington Beach home on June 10 for a private viewing of the movie.

The animated movie begins with scenes showing the evolution of a relationship between a husband and wife. After losing his wife in old age, the now grumpy man deals with his loss by attaching thousands of balloons to his house, flying into the sky, and going on an adventure with a little boy.

Colby died about seven hours after seeing the film.

With her daughter’s vigil planned for Friday, Lisa Curtin reflected about how grateful she is that Pixar – and "Up" – were a part of her only child’s last day.

“When I watched it, I had really no idea about the content of the theme of the movie,” said Curtin, 46. “I just know that word ‘Up’ and all of the balloons and I swear to you, for me it meant that (Colby) was going to go up. Up to heaven.”

Pixar officials declined to comment on the story or name the employees involved.


Colby was diagnosed with vascular cancer on Dec. 23, 2005 after doctors found a tumor in her liver. At the time of her death, her stomach was about 94 inches around, swollen with fluids the cancer wouldn’t let her body properly digest. The rest of her body probably weighed about 45 pounds, family friend Carole Lynch said.

Colby had gone to Newport Elementary School and was known for making others laugh, family friend Terrell Orum-Moore said. Colby loved to dance, sing, swim and seemed to have a more mature understanding of the world than other children her age, Orum-Moore said.

On April 28, Colby went to see the Dream Works 3-D movie "Monsters Vs. Aliens" but was impressed by the previews to "Up."

“It was from then on, she said, ‘I have to see that movie. It is so cool,’” Lynch said.

Colby was a movie fan, Lisa Curtin said, and she latched onto Pixar’s movies because she loved animals.

Two days later Colby’s health began to worsen. On June 4 her mother asked a hospice company to bring a wheelchair for Colby so she could visit a theater to see "Up." However, the weekend went by and the wheelchair was not delivered, Lisa Curtin said.

By June 9, Colby could no longer be transported to a theater and her family feared she would die without having seen the movie.

At that point, Orum-Moore, who desperately wanted Colby to get her last wish, began to cold-call Pixar and Disney to see if someone could help.

Pixar has an automated telephone answering system, Orum-Moore said, and unless she had a name of a specific person she wanted to speak to, she could not get through. Orum-Moore guessed a name and the computer system transferred her to someone who could help, she said.

Pixar officials listened to Colby’s story and agreed to send someone to Colby’s house the next day with a DVD of "Up," Orum-Moore recalled.

She immediately called Lisa Curtin, who told Colby.

“Do you think you can hang on?” Colby’s mother said.

“I’m ready (to die), but I’m going to wait for the movie,” the girl replied.


At about 12:30 p.m. the Pixar employee came to the Curtins’ home with the DVD.

He had a bag of stuffed animals of characters in the movie and a movie poster. He shared some quirky background details of the movie and the group settled in to watch Up.

Colby couldn't see the screen because the pain kept her eyes closed so her mother gave her a play-by-play of the film.

At the end of the film, the mother asked if her daughter enjoyed the movie and Colby nodded yes, Lisa Curtin said.

The employee left after the movie, taking the DVD with him, Lynch said.

“He couldn’t have been nicer,” said Lynch who watched the movie with the family. “His eyes were just welled up.”

After the movie, Colby’s dad, Michael Curtin, who is divorced from Lisa Curtin, came to visit.

Colby died with her mom and dad nearby at 9:20 p.m.

Among the Up memorabilia the employee gave Colby was an “adventure book” – a scrap book the main character’s wife used to chronicle her journeys.

“I’ll have to fill those adventures in for her,” Lisa Curtin said.

Category: General
Tags: General
Posted on: May 31, 2009 5:32 pm

I will never forger Pat Tillman

I know this happened awhile ago but I was looking through some old Sports Illustrated issues I had in storage and I ran across the one with Tillman on the front shortly after he died. I got to thinking you know 10 or 20 years from now when I tell my grandkids about the decade between 2000-2010 I was thinking what good could I tell them? We have the steroid era in baseball, refs betting on basketball games, and NFL players shooting themselves in the leg or getting DUIs almost every week but then I remembered Pat Tillman. The guy walked away from money, fame, and the sport he loved to go fight for our freedom after 9/11. The man saw his country attacked and he went and faced our darkest fears. So before I tell them about a game winning catch or a goal-line stand that won the game for one of the teams I root for I will tell them the story of Pat Tillman- A True American Hero who went and laid his life down for his country. R.I.P Mr. Pat Tillman
Category: General
Tags: Pat Tillman
Posted on: April 5, 2009 4:17 pm

My story of the 2003 Atlanta Braves and dad dying

 This is my story of watching my dad die in the summer of 2003 and at night in a lonely hospital ICU waiting room cheering on the 2003 Atlanta Braves team that had the most homers in the majors that year. My dad had an outpatient hernia surgery on June 3rd, 2003 and something went terribly wrong during the surgery and I had to watch my dad die slowly for 33 days. My dad died on July 7th, 2003. The only thing that I had to be happy about in that terrible month was watching Javy Lopez and the braves hit homer after homer in each of their games. I know they didn't win the world series or even a playoff series but I just wanted to share that. I love sports. Sometimes when life beats you down to your knees it sometimes takes watching some sports to inspire you to get back up. My dad made me turn it to the braves game everynight in his ICU room and I would sit in his room and watch the game with him sometimes and we wouldn't say a word just enjoy the game for 3 hours and try not to think that we wouldn't be together too much longer. They told me he was dying but I just didn't want to believe it. I miss you dad. Go Braves.

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 22, 2009 8:36 pm

Richardson is gone be the next great at Bama

Trent Richardson is gonna be the next great running back at Alabama. The guy can run through you like Glen Coffee or run past you like Shaun Alexander. He was one of the top speeds in the 100 meter sprints in Florida and that my friends is saying something for a guy who ways 220 pounds. He is gonna be the type of guy who will be a nightmare in the fourth quarter for opposing team defenses. has him rated in the top 5 in the best bruising inside runners and in the top 5 in the top home run threats. I think Trent or possibly Julio Jones will hopefully bring the first Heisman Trophy to Alabama but if we can just win a national title while they are there that will be good enough in my eyes. ROLL TIDE

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 15, 2009 7:08 pm

Start scouting Kindergarten kids who can color

Hey while we're at it let's start scouting the kids in Kindergarten who can color the best and eat the most glue without puking. Let them play dodgeball and whoever throws the hardest offer them to be your quarterback in case they are good 20 years from now. lol

What do you guys think about scouting kids who aren't even in high school yet?

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 4, 2009 10:38 pm

Bear Bryant must be smiling down from heaven

I bet Bear Bryant is smiling now from his tower in heaven now that mama, Alabama football, is in good hands once again. Who woulda thought back when we first got Saban we would have two back to back great recruiting classes and come within 60 minutes of playing for the national championship and beating the gators and the best quarterback this world has seen. Tebow would have been the ideal quarterback for Bryant a guy who will crush the defender when running the ball and can throw the ball 60 yards and hit any spot he wants. I think Alabama is about to go on a winning spree not seen since the Bryant days and when Saban and his players are holding that crystal ball up for the 13th time Saban will look up to the sky and hear "Well done boys well done, pour Saban a scotch, and let me try one of those dang oatmeal creme pies he's always talking about."

Category: NCAAF
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or