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Mark Teixeira: Not a dick. A story of courage and strength


Some professional athletes are selfish, inconsiderate, pretentious assholes. Not Mark Teixeira, though. And that gave one young lad the strength and courage to do the impossible.

This past February, Tex met Brian Ernst, a 19-year-old cancer patient that had been a fan of Tex’ since his days at Georgia Tech, through the Make-A-Wish foundation. Ernst’s sense of humor through his trying time, including asking the slugger to autograph one of his tumors, made the two instantly bond.

"That was definitely a first, and probably a last. The whole family was laughing. That was one of the reasons Brian made such an impact on me."

A couple of weeks before another scheduled meeting between the two, the Make-A-Wish foundation received word that Brian’s condition, a rare form of cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma, had worsened. So Marky Mark decided to give the young whippersnapper a phone call, which went on for 20 minutes.

"I was terrified, really…After we talked, I said, ‘Hang in there, and I’ll see you in two weeks."

Two weeks later, when the rendezvous rolled around, the family informed Tex that Bri might not be well enough to make it. However, when the $180 millionaire arrived at the Ernst’s in Georgia, the  youngster sacked up and, according to Old Man Ernst, spent two of the best hours of his life with his idol.

"That was one of the happiest days of that boy’s life."

On March 16th, the former pitching prospect, who was once thought to play D-I baseball, succumbed to his disease and will now be watching Tex play from up above. Ernst is gone but not forgotten; he made such an impact that Tex wrote ‘Brian’ ‘Faith’ and ‘#5’ (Ernst’s high school number) on the inside of his hat to pay homage. He is planning on giving the hat to the Ernsts on Tuesday, after flying them up to New York for the Yankees’ home opener.

So the next time you feel like ragging on an athlete for being an overpaid douchebag, ask yourself if you would go through all that trouble if you had no obligation. I guess $20 million a year can buy a lot — especially class and dignity.