Monday, January 21, 2008

Joe Gibbs

Unless you're an NFL or NASCAR fan, you may not know who Joe Gibbs is.

He was the successful head coach for the Washington Redskins for 12 years, retiring in 1992. During his time with the Redskins he lead the team to three Super Bowl wins! After his football retirement, he focused on his NASCAR teams for the next 12 years, and won three championships. In January of 2004, he returned to football to again coach the Washington Redskins, and earlier this month (after a very challenging year) chose to resign his position.

Ted and I (and Alex, but not Joey) are big NASCAR fans, and when we would travel to Myrtle Beach each summer, we would spend the night in Mooresville, NC. It just so happens that Mooresville is the home to many of the NASCAR race shops, so we would try to visit a few each year. Just down the road a few miles, is Huntersville, NC, home of Joe Gibbs Racing.

One morning in late June 2003, we left our hotel in Mooresville, and headed toward Myrtle. Twenty minutes into our journey, we decided to stop in Huntersville, to see the JGR facility. It was absolutely WONDERFUL! The building is not only huge, but it's also so bright and open. We were able to look through a glass wall and see the actual shop where they build and work on the cars. The entire shop was SPOTLESS!! They had a white floor and there was not a speck of dirt anywhere!! Talk about impressive! All the employees that we came across were so kind and polite. It was such a pleasure to visit a place like this.

After we saw all that we wanted to see, we were walking out to the car. Joey was not with us, as he chose to stay home during that trip and work. Alex and I were ahead of Ted at the car, waiting for him to unlock the doors. I can recall saying to Alex, "I wish your dad would hurry up, it's so HOT!"

Suddenly I heard Ted calling my name. As I looked around at him, he said, "There's Joe Gibbs!" and I said, "Well...I think I need to meet that man!" and I promptly followed him into the building!

He stopped at the round main desk and begin to sign little pamphlets they had about him and the lessons that he's learned along the way. I went up to him, and he smiled at me, asked me my name, then handed me a signed copy. I was sooooooo thrilled! I mean, this is JOE GIBBS....JOE GIBBS!!
Alex and Ted had followed me back into the building, and after I thanked Joe, we were all walking out together. I commented to Ted, "Do you remember when we were in Bristol (for a NASCAR race) how Joe was the only 'big name' who would wave at us? All the others just ignored the fans." Ted said, "Why don't you go tell him that?"

That was all I needed...back in I went.

"Excuse me, Mr. Gibbs, I'd like to tell you something."

He stopped signing, and looked at me, in the eye!

"My husband and I were in Bristol last year and as we waited with so many others to catch a glimpse of a driver or owner, you were the ONLY ONE who took a second to wave at us. We weren't asking for a photo of anyone, or an autograph, just a simple acknowledgement to the fans. I realize that it's not that big of a deal to drivers and owners to see fans, but it's a big deal for the fans themselves."

Joe said, "It IS a big deal, and I'm thankful that the fans take the time to show their support."

I said, "Well, I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciated that wave. It meant a lot to us."

Joe said, "Thank you for telling me this. That means a lot to me."

I was grinning from ear to ear as I walked out, and he returned to autographing.

What a nice guy!!

Joe Gibbs has been nominated for the NFL Coach of the Year, and you can vote at . You'll need to scroll over to the far right to see the actual ballot. Voting ends today at 6:00 pm.

Not only is Joe Gibbs a terrific coach and fantastic car owner, but he is a God-fearing, family-loving, wonderful man!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind words.

Mrs. Joe Gibbs

January 21, 2008 11:54 AM

Paulie said...

What a nice memory!