Despite what is surely my partner’s great dissatisfaction and humiliation at this exact moment, I simply couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the man who truly hooked me on the sport of football.
It’s now been 20 years since former Saints, 49ers, and Raiders cornerback/safety Dave Waymer died, but he still holds a unique mythological-like place in my heart — just ask my friends.
No, Dave wasn’t the best to ever play the game. Far from it in fact. He managed just one Pro Bowl appearance during a time when the contest actually mattered, and he certainly had plenty of times when he was badly beaten on a given play. Then again he wasn’t the worst either, as his 37 interceptions is still the New Orleans Saints all-time record. He was who he was in terms of a football player. Good at times, bad at others. Then again I imagine that’s probably what most people could say about you and I if they reviewed our work under a microscope every day.
On April 30th, 1993 Waymer passed away at the age of 34 from heart failure — likely as the result of his cocaine use. As an 11 year old kid it was a sobering notice that all our idols aren’t perfect. I never needed to be lectured about the dangers of cocaine and its ilk from that point on — because Waymer’s death was all the discouragement I ever needed.
I guess we all have idols in our life. Some fall short of glory like mine, but they still inspired us while they were alive. Hopefully they also made the lives of others better along the way, as Waymer seemed to accomplish in the short tribute clip below. If nothing else, his play on the football field made me a fan for life.
Ed Daniels said it best in 1993 when he noted that “Dave Waymer’s passing reminds us all how short and sweet life can be.” So here’s to the “North Carolina Cowboy,” twenty years later.