Dear Cam Newton:
The kid the world knows as “Little A“ has one last hope.
The man known as Sheriff Alex “Big A” Underwood who wears a bulletproof vest has the same hope.
They hope to meet you.
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Cam, you’ve got the great name and the million-dollar smile and the movie-star looks. You’ve got all the great wins this season. It doesn’t hurt that you get all the great money to go with being great.
“Cam Newton is the best!” says the kid named Alex Collins who is 10 years old and will long be known as “Little A.”
Little A will tell you, Cam Newton, don’t let anybody tell you not to dance when you score so often the scoreboard breaks from the numbers piling up. Winners dance until their feet hurt. Dance because life is a joy and not an apology to those who will not dance but are haunted with envy at the great ones who do.
Thursday, on Thanksgiving, Little A and Big A will root for you every play – even Big A who loves the villains of America, the Dallas Cowboys. When you and your Carolina Panthers play those Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, Little A and Big A will be watching you from rural Chester County, 40 miles south of Charlotte.
They will sit together on a big couch and watch you dance after a touchdown and high-five each other.
A year ago, Little A was a heartbroken kid in a single-mother home outside Philadelphia in Chester County, Pa. He penned a handwritten letter to the local sheriff there begging to go hunting on a special sheriff’s trip. He said his mother was too sick to take him and he had never been.
He begged, and then he cried when he found out the hunt was in Chester County, S.C. But those cops who chase down killers and dope dealers did not let that boy down.
The sheriff of Chester County, S.C., Alex Underwood, was putting on the hunt. After he learned of Alex’s letter, Underwood brought the boy to South Carolina and changed the kid forever through kindness and caring. Big A paid for it all out of his own pocket, although he is the lowest paid sheriff in South Carolina.
The kid matters a lot more than any money, Big A tells everybody.
Big A has loved the Dallas Cowboys since Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Tony Dorsett. Forgive him, the Cowboys once mattered like you matter now.
In June, when you received your new contract for $57,000 a day I asked who was worth more, you or Big A, who gets $57,000 a year. I asked who really is Superman? Cam or Big A? The answer was, and what you and Big A have done shows, it is both of you.
This week Big A and his wife and sons brought Little A back again for a surprise hunt with other kids.
Little A rode in a holiday parade in tiny Great Falls on Sunday with the other Chester kids, and his smile did not cease. Big A walked in the parade with his bulletproof vest on because he is not in the NFL. Haters of football players write mean letters. Haters in crime shoot guns.
Big A waved at those who cheered in Great Falls as he walked and he did not run from the huge responsibility of protecting those people from bad guys.
People get mad when you rip down a sign, or dance, it’s just a sports thing where nobody gets hurt and everybody walks away grinning.
People get mad at Big A, they kill his dog. They threaten his family and his officers. They threaten to kill him.
Little A will tell you that nobody ever better try to hurt big A, because he is the best and biggest guy in the whole world.
And during your game against Dallas, Little A will scream for you as he sits next to Big A.
Little A loves his hometown Philadelphia Eagles but for him on Thanksgiving the best player in football is Carolina Panthers No. 1. Little A wants more than anything to meet the guy with the touchdowns and smile and dances that inspire joy before he leaves Sunday to go back to Pennsylvania.
Big A said he would love to meet No. 1, too – the guy his size, who leads like he does, who like him does not back down.
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065