Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Steve Streater

Steve Streater was a star on the UNC football team when I arrived on campus in 1979.  Two images of Steve will always be with me. 

The first was on the field when he was the punter.  Steve was All-ACC when he kicked the ball.  He was even better when he ran with it.  I remember Steve taking a snap, bolting around the line, through the defense and into the end zone as 45,000 fans cheered wildly.

The second image was probably on the same day.  I lived in Ehringhaus dorm where most of the football team also lived.  The walkways on each floor face each other.  When Steve arrived back at the dorm after the game, the walkways were full of students cheering and chanting “Streat, Streat, Streat.”  he just waved his appreciation and went into his room.

The rest of the story is a sad one if looked at from a perspective of what could have been.  On the way back to Chapel Hill after signing a contract to play for the Washington Redskins, Steve’s car hit some standing water, flipped and broke his spine.

I met Steve a few years later while working in Wilmington for a local TV station.  Steve spoke to high school kids about wearing seatbelts.  I produced an interview with him after the speech.  He was nice and easy to talk to.  He seemed as happy with his lot as about anyone.  I heard no regrets.

Steve passed last month.  I just read about it here.  My condolences to his family and friends.  Thanks for the memories, Steve.

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