To view photos of Monday’s meet-and-greet with former Philadelphia Eagle Garry Cobb, visit the photo gallery by clicking on the following link: http://photos.suburbanonesports.com/
PLYMOUTH MEETING – Josh Mastromatto was impressed with Garry Cobb.
But not because he was a former NFL star. And not because he has gone on to have a successful career in radio and television.
“Usually when people like that talk it’s all about glorifying themselves,” the Upper Dublin senior said. “He didn’t talk like that at all.
“He was actually really humble. He was talking to help out kids, not to glorify himself and how good he was. That’s what I really appreciated about him. Most people from the NFL are way too stuck-up to talk to kids. I thought it was really cool that he was talking like that, and he was concerned about helping us out.”
The former Philadelphia Eagle's message to the large group of SuburbanOneSports.com’s Featured Athletes and their parents at Monday night’s special meet-and-greet at Dave & Buster’s was simple – be yourself and find your niche.
“Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself that you have to compete with somebody else, to do whatever somebody else is doing,” Cobb said. “A lot of times, you’ll put undue pressure on yourself, and you’re not enjoying yourself.
“I would encourage you to enjoy your time in high school when you’re playing sports. Just have a good time. Do your best, but make sure you enjoy yourself.”
The event was sponsored by Guardian Wear, a local, high performance athletic apparel company. Cobb - a shareholder and strategic partner in the company’s youth sports outreach program - stressed the importance of family.
“You play on a lot of teams, but the most important team you play on is your family,” he said. “I love sports. At times on the radio, we’ll talk about the Super Bowl, but the Super Bowl is not as important as your family and the people who care about you, the people who are going to be there whether you lose or whether you win.
“You need to make sure to develop good relationships with people in your family.”
Cobb, the third in a family of seven children, shared a portion of his life story.
“My dad used to work a lot, and sometimes the coaches would give me a ride home from games, but I would have them let me off down the street because I didn’t want them to see where I lived,” he said. “That was a big deal to me, but as I got older and went to the University of Southern California, I started meeting other people, and I remember thinking of things my parents told me.
“I realized I had great parents. We didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents were honest people. We never saw my dad cheat anybody. We never saw my mom cheat anybody. They didn’t come home and run somebody into the ground. They always spoke highly of people. My parents were good people.”
Cobb’s dad went back to school to get his high school diploma when he was 24 after a stint in the military, and he vowed that all of his children would get an education.
“While he was in the armed services, he realized you should get your education,” Cobb said. “Growing up in the south, he was taken out of school when he was in eighth grade, which was a regular thing because they didn’t look at education as valuable.
“My dad went out and bought some encyclopedias for our family. We’re like, ‘Why are we buying encyclopedias? No one else has encyclopedias.” He would make us read all the time. We used to have to get up at the dinner table during the summer and give a speech about what we read in the encyclopedia.
“I thought, ‘My dad is so stupid.’ I would tell the guys at the playground, ‘This is so stupid.’”
It turns out his dad had the right idea – a fact Cobb will readily acknowledge.
Cobb’s older brother graduated from Dartmouth and is an executive in a Connecticut school district. His older sister, also a Dartmouth grad, is an attorney in New Jersey. A younger sibling, who graduated from Cornell, is an aerospace engineer. Still another attended New York University and is a successful actor in the Big Apple.
“All my brothers and sisters went to college,” he said. “I didn’t agree with everything my parents wanted me to do, and I know you don’t agree with everything your parents want you to do, but let me assure you – they’re smarter than you think they are.
“I encourage you to listen to them. You’re not going to be perfect, but think about some of the things they tell you because they really care about you. You’re going to meet a lot of people, but no one will care about you more than your parents.”
Cobb encouraged the young athletes to feel good about themselves.
“You’ve got to love yourself,” he said. “You’re going to accomplish a lot of things in your life, but you’re never going to be anybody else. You’re always going to be you. You’ve got to feel good about yourself.”
A step toward feeling good about yourself, according to Cobb, is finding your niche.
“Don’t be afraid to try different things,” he said. “If you want to write – you can’t find out if you can write or not until you sit down and do some writing. It’s important for kids to go ahead and not be afraid to fail. You have to have the guts to be willing to fail. That’s how you’ll find your gift.
“My career started with a dream. When I got to the pros, I had to pinch myself and call my buddy and tell him I made it, but the fun was the journey. These young people are going through it now. They have to enjoy it.”
Rich Patterson, founder and president of Guardian Wear, offered young athletes a voice in his new company. Interested athletes are invited to join the company’s advisory board.
“Guardian Wear is all about trying to find out what kids want in their athletic apparel rather than what everybody else wears in the professional ranks,” he said. “Since they’re going to be the ones wearing it, we want to make it for them so they feel it’s a company that’s actually listening to them.”
On Monday night, it was the athletes who were doing the listening, and they liked what they heard.
“I always try and look for the good in people, but I didn’t think you had to look for it in him,” Mastromatto said of Cobb. “He seemed like such a good guy.
“He’s grateful for where he’s at. It was nice that he came out tonight.”