As a young child growing up in St. Stephens, S.C., soft-spoken Jaguars LB Tracy White faced serious adversity in his life. While he was in first grade, White's father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The prognosis did not look good.
Miraculously, many years later, White's father is alive and well. At the age of 48 he is still as sharp as ever. Tracy often jokes that his dad has a better memory than he does. His father walks with a cane and is disabled on one side of his body, but what he lacks physically, he makes up for mentally.
"My dad couldn't always be there to show me how to physically do things. But with what he couldn't do physically he made up for it mentally," said White. "He would talk to me; he is a tremendous influence on my life."
By being in the National Football League, Tracy understands that many people would tend to think that he would be a big celebrity in his hometown. However, Tracy's father seems to get most of the attention.
"Back home, my dad is always going out and giving speeches about his life and what he has had to deal with in his life. He has spoken at many churches and schools all over our area," said White.
By seeing the role that his dad has played in many people's lives, Tracy feels that community service has become much more important to him.
"My dad taught me how to reach out to people. There are a lot of people whose lives can be touched by what I do and what I say," said White. "There are some people that you may need to be patient with, but those are the people that may need the help even more."
Recently White and a collection of Jaguars players visited Northshore Elementary to put on the Jaguars Gatorade Junior Training Camp. It is a camp designed to give students a break from the classroom and chance to run through various football drills out on the playing field, all of this with the coaching and encouragement of Jaguars players.
"The day provided me a chance to show the kids that through hard work you can accomplish anything in life," White explained. "I worked hard to get where I am in life. I encouraged the students to stay in school, work hard and never give up, and great things will happen to you."