Thanks for the memories

Sweetness a jokester extraordinaire

November 6, 2009, 8:58 PM

By: Jonathan Hood

Growing up on the South Side, I remember my room being filled with Bears pennants and posters of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton. He was such an exciting player. I remember his goal-line leap, his stutter step movement as he ran the ball, and his team going to the NFL Super Bowl and beating the Patriots in 1985.

Until I read about it, I didn't realize that it has been 10 years since Payton's death.

I'm not one to celebrate someone's death, but I think it is good to pay respect to one of the best iconic figures in Chicago sports.

I met Payton as a producer on "The Walter Payton Radio Show" in the mid-'90s at his restaurant, Walter Payton's Roundhouse. I have met many celebrities and sports figures over the years, but Payton was different. I handed him a pair of headphones that he was to wear before going on the air.

Before I gave him the headphones, I put them on to check the sound levels and to make sure they were operable.

"I checked them, and they were fine," I thought.

He put them on and said he couldn't hear anything. I'm panicking. I'm thinking, I just checked these headphones and they should be fine. He handed them back to me. I put them on, and they worked. They worked so well that he turned the level of the headphones up so loud that it sent a jolt through me so fast that it made me jump. Payton got a good laugh out of it, and so did I.

He was a prankster, and I knew that all too well.

He didn't care who you were, he always had time to talk to you or sign an autograph.

Walter, for sure, was one of a kind.

I've met his son Jarrett on more than one occasion, and I see where he gets his charm and warm demeanor.

I will remember the great games, and I will remember the person.

Thanks for the memories, Walter.


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