View Full Version : Dying prof tackles final dream -- the NFL (and he's a Steelers fan)

10-12-2007, 03:10 PM

By Allison M. Heinrichs (aheinrichs@tribweb.com)
Thursday, October 4, 2007

It wasn't quite playing in the National Football League, but to Randy Pausch it was close enough.

The Carnegie Mellon University professor who became a worldwide sensation last month after giving his "last lecture" about achieving childhood dreams, achieved his last dream on Wednesday: He practiced with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"This is great," said Pausch, 46, grinning from ear to ear as he sprinted out on the Steelers practice field in the South Side to catch some throws from wide receiver Hines Ward.
Pausch, who co-founded Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center and created free software to encourage girls to get into computer science, expects to die in the next several months.

The father of three young children learned last year that he has pancreatic cancer and began a grueling treatment regimen. In August, he learned that the cancer was back and there was nothing more the doctors could do.

On Sept. 18, he told a capacity crowd of almost 400 people who gathered in Carnegie Mellon's biggest auditorium the story of how he went about achieving his childhood dreams of being in zero gravity, authoring an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, being Captain Kirk, winning the big stuffed animals at amusement parks and working for Disney. He also told about his dream of playing in the NFL.

"I did not make it to the National Football League, but I probably got more from that dream and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish," he said during his lecture.
He went on to explain the lessons he learned from playing football as a kid -- chief among them that it isn't always bad when the coach is yelling at you because "when you're screwing up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up." .....

Beneath sunny skies yesterday, Pausch jumped and dove to snatch every single pass from Ward out of midair. Clad in a No. 86 jersey and navy blue shorts that showed off his skinny legs, he looked every bit the professor, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said his moves were respectable.

"You know, Hines doesn't have to worry about his job security, but (Pausch is) impressive," Tomlin said, adding that he, too, was inspired by Pausch's story.
After practice, Pausch visited the Steelers offices, where he met Chairman Dan Rooney and team President Art Rooney II. He spent a few quiet minutes with the Steelers' five Vince Lombardi trophies.

"I'm glad you came down," Dan Rooney said. "I saw you outside with all the guys -- you were great."

They chatted about Carnegie Mellon, the integrity with which Pausch believes the Rooneys run the Steelers organization and the Steelers' chances for a Super Bowl win this season.
"I'll make you guys a promise," Pausch said. "You get into that Super Bowl, I'll live to see it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2007-10-03/1004rrandy-b.jpgRandy Pausch gets his jersey autographed by Hines Ward
Steven Adams/Tribune-Review

10-12-2007, 03:18 PM
That is awesome and an amazing story... :cryrun:

10-12-2007, 03:20 PM
Wow. Thanks for posting his story. Truly inspirational. God's blessings to him and his family.

Dee Mca
10-12-2007, 03:27 PM
The will and desire to live is a strong thing. The Steelers have something to play for. Two years ago it was for the Bus. Now it's for Pausch.

10-12-2007, 03:48 PM
wow...that is an amazing story. Thank you for posting it. I enjoyed it!

black an gold 4 life
10-12-2007, 06:53 PM
well it's an great but sad story at the same time