Bob Jurevitz is the toughest football player I watched and ranks at the top of the list of toughest people I have met. This includes the National Football League players, professional fighters and college wrestlers I have covered.
Jurevitz, who would snap me like a twig if he knew nice things were being said and penned about him, is struggling. ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, has him in its clutches and the clock is ticking far too fast. It's why his friends (and from the calls and e-mails Ihave received, Jurevitz is loved worldwide) want to show their love.
On Friday, May 13, at Bettendorf's Waterfront Convention Center, a night of laughter and memories -- on Bob's behalf -- is in store. The door donation is $10, while food, prizes, raffles and auction items will be available. The night's take will offset medical costs for Bob, who shares five great kids with his bride, Tracey.
As an assistant baseball coach at St. Ambrose College in the early 1980s, my fall Saturdays were spent watching Fighting Bee Football at John O'Donnell Stadium (now Modern Woodmen Park). It's where the Bees played their home games and dismantled many an opponent.
Much of the offensive prowess those club's possessed was Jurevitz, the hard-nosed running back. He would not be stopped. Each week, he was rushing for 100-plus yards and carrying the Bees' offense on his rather broad shoulders.
The Ambrose record book is littered with his name. Most rushes in a season (311), most points career (414), most points season (162), and career touchdowns (64). He rushed for a whopping 5,126 yards in his career (2nd) and in 1985 rushed for 1,424 yards. Jurevitz must be mentioned in the same breath with anyone considered as the greatest running back in school history.
"I'm sure there were plenty of cleat marks on my chest that I've chosen to forget,'' Doug Valentine, who along with brother, Dick, were stars on those Bees teams with Jurevitz.
Joe Dubin, an offensive lineman during Jurevitz's days at Ambrose, says his pal's farming background is what made him a star.
"I bailed hay with him a couple times,'' Dubin said of working on the Jurevitz farm with his college buddy. "I know where he got his great balance. He was standing on the hayrack stacking bails as if they were nothing, driving through uneven fields up, down, sideways. I was having trouble just standing. What really kicked my butt was trying to pretend it was easy and the bails were not too heavy, because his sisters were also throwing them around like they were feathers.
"I remember Bob cutting off his own wrist cast because he got some horse or cow crap on it and it stunk.'It was due to come off in a couple weeks anyway,' was his response.''
If your schedule allows, stop by May 13 and show a little love for a great football player, but an even better husband and father.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or email@example.com.