By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Editor
ONE OF THE BEST parts about this job is the people I get to meet while covering sports.
I’m talking about local people mostly, but I’ve also gotten to meet Steelers like Hines Ward, Jerome Bettis and Joey Porter.
You know guys we all watch on TV 16 Sundays a year — or used to, in JB’s case.
This past Sunday, though, I got to meet a man that I don’t remember watching on TV — if I ever did — Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert.
Prior to meeting him, I had an image of him burned into my mind. It was a picture of him with his helmet on and the trademark no teeth grimace from his playing days that graced the cover of the July 30, 1984 Sports Illustrated.
Physically, he wasn’t what I expected him to look like — I was expecting rippling muscles just like he had stepped away from the game two weeks ago not nearly two decades ago.
Instead, he was wearing a John Deere ball cap, cut off jean shorts, a gray muscle shirt and a well worn pair of work boots.
The one thing I noticed right away was the tough guy demeanor he portrayed during his playing days is pretty close to the real life Jack Lambert.
He and I sat in the press box at George Pawkovich Field in Worthington watching as a section official was inspecting the field following a heavy rain that delayed the first game of the Section 2 championship finals between Grove City and Butler Township.
He stared down menacingly at the poor unfortunate soul. You know the look many former NFLers got to know all too well.
If looks could kill, many people in the Worthington area would have attended a funeral earlier this week.
One liners like ‘Call the (expletive) thing off’ and ‘Give it up’ among other things were uttered — trust me this journalist doesn’t have a potty mouth except when on the golf course.
Soon thereafter, the press box was down a Hall of Fame linebacker as Lambert couldn’t resist the urge to go help nurse his baby back to health.
For much of the past 10 years, Lambert, who has also worked as a game warden in Armstrong County for the Pennsylvania Game Commission in the past, has helped the Worthington Little League as one of their groundskeepers.
Apparently, he’s pretty darn good at that, too. Pawkovich Field was a very pretty Little League field, but still behind GC’s Wise Field — in my biased opinion.
Within 30 minutes, Lambert and Co. had the field in playable condition despite having lakelike conditions in front of the mound and in front of second base with rivers flowing down the first and third baselines.
Not too many fields could have taken the pounding it did that evening and still been playable.
I guess Pawkovich Field is just like Lambert — tough.
By Corey J. Corbin