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Tim Howard is hard to miss. After all, he’s a 6-3, 210-pound goalkeeper who became the face of the U.S. men’s national soccer team in lieu of this summer’s FIFA World Cup. He sports a full, dark beard, menacing brown eyes, a shaved head and—perhaps not as noticeable for those unfamiliar with him—an upper body teeming with tattoos.
Howard’s first ink came when he was 16, a Superman symbol branded on his right biceps. Since then, he’s added so many tattoos now blanketing his torso and arms that he’s literally lost count. Let’s just say that, over the past few years, his frame has become a work of art.
Norman Seabrooks clutched his diploma in one hand; the other was balled in a fist. He accepted his degree from The Citadel in honor of Charlie Foster and Joe Shine, who came before him; Red Parker and Keith Roden, who struggled beside him; Herb Cunningham and Flossie Gordon, who sheltered him; the anonymous faces who stuffed his pockets with extra desserts and milk after late-night practices; the maintenance staff that publicly embraced him like a son and privately prayed for Norm’s strength and safety. But this, he thought as he left the stage with degree in hand, was for William Thomas Seabrooks.
The cancer was winning. It was no longer a matter of if, but when. The tumors that invaded Jim Valvano’s body were growing and they were beginning to rob him of the things that defined him. The kinetic energy and enthusiasm were fading fast with each chemotherapy treatment.