Friday, 3 February 2017

Joshua Manocherian Sports Blog | When A Poet’s Namesake Plays Football

Edgar Allen Poe, Army Wide Receiver

Joshua Manocherian is a huge fan of college football and was ecstatic when the Army Black Knights finally defeated the Navy for the first time since 2001. He is fascinated by individual players’ back-stories. Today, he writes about Army wide receiver Edgar Allen Poe, who, it turns out, has a lot in common with the famed poet of the same name.
I’m a sucker for great back-stories. And in this season’s Army Black Knights football team, the most fascinating so far is that of wide receiver Edgar Allen Poe.
Does the name ring a bell? It should if you paid attention in your high school literature class. Edgar Allan Poe, famous for his poems “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven”, also attended West Point. Unfortunately for his Army career (and fortunately for lovers of poetry), the more well-known Edgar Poe was dismissed in 1831, after being charged with gross neglect of duty and disobedience of orders.
The other Edgar Poe, the wide receiver in this year’s Army team that just beat Navy and is about to go on to a bowl game, doesn’t see a dismissal in the horizon. With eleven career touchdown receptions, he is tied for sixth all-time in Army football history.
He did have times when he wanted to quit, though. When asked about his first time sleeping in the field, he stifled a wince.
"It rained. It poured for about 10 hours. That was the coldest I have ever been in my life. My neck muscles started cramping up," he told Army West Point Athletics.
But with his fellow seniors on the team all going through the same ordeal, he decided against quitting, instead sticking it out for one last push, one dedicated to fallen teammate and comrade-in-arms, Brandon Jackson, who died in a tragic car accident in September.
He recalls an incident involving the late cornerback in fall camp. The team had a lip-syncing competition as a group. Suddenly, Jackson just burst out into the competition, wearing women’s clothes and leaving the entire team in stitches.
Edgar Allen Poe cherishes that memory of his departed teammate. “I think that’s a good one to remember… that’s one of the most cherished moments I have. For [Jackson] to be part of it means so much.
For now, though, Poe wants to help his team win the Heart of Dallas Bowl against North Texas. And with his singular focus and the fact that his team wears black, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call him "The Raven". After all, his namesake, the poet, might just have written those verses about a future Army wide receiver.

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