The Gipper -- Part Two: (The End of the Gipp Saga)

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And Kelly was always trying to catch up, first with me and then with Ramsey. Then, when he was 16 years old, he was beating Ramsey at Kelly kept going. Kelly Sullivan's football talent has continued to weave a bright thread in the family tapestry, a poignant saga that sweeps through the vicious underworld of crime and onto the fabled playing fields of Notre Dame.

Kelly, now 18, is well aware of the family's Notre Dame football connection. His father made sure of that with both of his boys. The boys got the message.

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Ramsey, who preferred baseball, added, ''We were told if you wanted to play football, Notre Dame is where you wanted to go. Uncle Joe Begins.

Notre Dame Legacy. They wanted to go there because of Uncle Joe Sullivan. Francis de Sales Parochial School in Queens and served as an altar boy. He was the star tackle and captain of the St. John's Prep team that defeated archrival Brooklyn Prep for the first time in 12 years. Voted the outstanding city high school athlete in and the national schoolboy shot-put champion, he won a trip to the Olympics in Los Angeles and a scholarship to Notre Dame. In his sophomore year in South Bend, Sullivan sat on the bench and watched a senior all-American, Moose Krause, play left tackle on both offense and defense in the days before two-platoon football.

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Quiet and reserved almost to the point of shyness off the field, Sullivan turned out to be such a flaming fighter in action that when the time came to elect a captain, he was the unanimous choice of the squad; the recognized and accepted leader before the first vote was cast.

Sullivan was a superior player, but his presence went way beyond football.

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Very humble, he never bragged. He was very strong, and if he made a great play, he never said anything because he believed that's what he was supposed to do. And here's where the legend begins: In January , Joe came down with pneumonia, then mastoiditis, and underwent surgery. Students prayed for the recovery of Big No. His death, after that of Gipp in and Rockne in , was called the third major shock to Notre Dame football. Coach Elmer Layden, the fullback for Rockne's Four Horsemen, and the other Horsemen were among those who attended the solemn requiem Mass; Layden announced that an acting captain would be chosen for each game in a season dedicated to Sullivan.

On Nov. It was All Souls' Day, and Layden told his players, ''You all know what today is, and Joe is surely looking down on all of us. In one of its greatest come-from-behind victories, Notre Dame scored three touchdowns in the last quarter, two in the last three minutes, the last one with seconds remaining, to win by Sullivan's father, Tim, a New York police lieutenant, was listening to the game on the radio.

FOOTBALL; Family Football Saga: Saint, Sinner and Son - The New York Times

Two days later, he had a heart attack and died. John Cavanaugh, Joe's confessor and later the university president, said: ''Eddie, never bother to read 'The Lives of the Saints,' for Joe was the greatest guy to come to Notre Dame spiritually and physically. Just try to be half as good. View all New York Times newsletters. The torch next passed to another Sullivan, Joe's namesake nephew, born in , the oldest son of his brother Gerard, a decorated police detective, and his wife, Nora.

There was no way of knowing then that the boy would show his football moves only behind bars as a legendary prison halfback. But when little Joe was 8, he began sneaking down into the cellar of his grandmother's house, where he would undo a taboo steamer trunk and, alert for footsteps, would hold his uncle's high-topped cleats, blood-stained jersey and battered leather helmet and dream of running onto the field under the Golden Dome.

Well, I have failed miserably, and I disgraced his legacy long ago by not becoming the man I planned to be, but an aberration.

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A Different Path. For Little Joe. Joe was 13 when his father died of cancer at age Between his mother's grief and her struggle for money, Joe went adrift. He skipped school and ran away for weeks at a time. A chronic truant, he was sent to a training school, ran away and was arrested for stealing a car, and ended up in a reformatory and then prison.

It was the start of a long career of crime that included a conviction for manslaughter in the second degree, a sentence of 20 to 30 years and a trip to Attica, where he became a legend of another kind. In prison, Joe said, he ran 10 miles a day, did 2, push-ups a day, pumped iron and went out for football during the days when organized games gave inmates the opportunity for serious hitting and wagering.

He played 13 seasons of hard-rock prison football; in one, he scored 32 touchdowns in 10 games. Sullivan's star status could be measured the only way it counts in prison -- in cigarettes. This is the money in there. In , urged on by the bank robber Willie Sutton, who had cancer, Joe took advantage of the tower guards who got bored in escape-proof Attica.


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When they turned to watch a truck come through the back gate, Joe shimmied up the foot wall in 15 seconds on a makeshift pole that other inmates dismantled the instant he jumped to freedom. In Anime this is likely inspired by Okita Souji , the famed Shinsengumi captain, who reportedly started coughing up blood due to tuberculosis before passing out during the Ikeda-ya Incident; he was unaware he had the disease until that moment.

Incurable Cough of Death

It's often said that he died 11 days later , creating the tragic image of a young warrior who defeated all opponents, only to fall to illness at the moment of his greatest triumph. It seems that most people fail to notice that two similar dates are four years apart due to the Rule of Drama. Thematically, the unnamed disease tends to act like pneumonia or tuberculosis, even in futuristic settings where those real diseases might be cured. Other times it's a hyped up version of unfortunately very real symptoms of chronically overworked people.

In general, wider knowledge of medical conditions doesn't let writers be specific without slipping up. Of course, in real life, people cough all the time from non-life-threatening causes, but those generally don't make for interesting stories. Think of this trope as the medical variant of Chekhov's Gun : if someone coughs in the first act, they better be dead by the third.

Ironically, Chekhov himself died of tuberculosis, which he contracted sometime in , finally succumbing to it in , after a good twenty years that are widely considered his most productive period as a writer.


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Note that Chekhov being a doctor had little to do with his unusually long lifespan after diagnosis: before streptomycin, there was no known effective treatment or cure for TB. If the character insists that it's nothing, then it's Definitely Just a Cold. The trope may also lead to a Healthcare Motivation. As a Death Trope , all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Though, really, the entire point of the trope is that the death isn't a spoiler to the Genre Savvy viewer, so as far as spoiler by definition tropes go, this is one of the safer ones.

In any case, you have been warned. Cersei : "Lord Gyles has had that cough for years , and it never killed him before.

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He coughed through half of Robert's reign and all of Joffrey's. She sighed a great deal, she used to sink down on to the divans, and sometimes even faint. She would interrupt her wearisome embroidery, raising her eyes to the heavens she was subject to strange mystical states , or let the heavy anglo-saxon novels, which she never finished, drop on to her knees. She often held a delicate batiste handkerchief to her lips, and coughed faintly.


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