It makes you smile when good things happen to good people. Such is the case with Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose interception return for a touchdown sealed the victory for his team in yesterday’s AFC Championship Game. His high-impact style and Samoan heritage have earned him nicknames such as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” and “The Samoan Headhunter.”
But Polamalu is, in some ways, a walking contradiction. The violent personality he shows on the field is offset by a quiet, respectful and classy one off the gridiron. The long-haired Pro Bowl safety is a major reason why the Steelers finished atop the league standings in defense, but he’s also a top-notch husband, father and philanthropist. His hobbies include – are you ready for this – growing flowers and playing the piano.
He recently took the time to visit with soldiers injured during the Iraq war and, after doing so, felt compelled to do something to help them. He and his wife, Theodora, started a foundation named for wounded soldiers and named it after Theodora’s grandfather Harry Panos, a World War II veteran.
He’s a soft-spoken guy who lets his actions on the field do the talking – and it speaks volumes. But it’s what he does off the field that makes him a superstar in my book. And in a time when people like Pacman Jones are garnering headlines for all the wrong reasons, it’s refreshing to see a good person like Troy Polamalu thriving.