Notre Dame was blown out in the BCS Championship Game last night, but it still was a great night for Pat Salvi, the owner of several independent and summer-collegiate teams: two sons were in uniform for the Fighting Irish.
Salvi owns the Gary-SouthShore RailCats, Schaumburg Boomers (both independent; Frontier League) and the North Shore Navigators (summer collegiate; Futures League). The story last night, however, concerned his sons Chris, who was in uniform for the Fighting Irish (making the stats with a tackle, and Will, who made the transition from practice-field walk-on to uniformed player. In this article from The New York Times, the route taken by both sons to roster spots is detailed — walk-on to scholarship:
On occasion, increasingly rare, intruders infiltrate the armies of four- and five-star recruits. Patrick Salvi and his wife, Lindy, will look for two of them — Chris, No. 24, and Will, No. 36 — when the Irish take the field against the favored Crimson Tide.
Having made the practice or scout team under the former coach Charlie Weis, Chris Salvi has been a regular for Kelly on special teams since the 2010 season, best known for taking out two Michigan State players and springing George Atkinson III on an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last year.
When the network television announcers made special note of Chris — all 5 feet 10 inches, 190 pounds of him — while dissecting the replay, the Rudy analogy was officially ground into the turf like a defenseless tackling dummy.
Rudy, of course, is Rudy Ruettiger, the Notre Dame walk-on who realized a personal dream when he saw game action for the Irish and the subject of the movie, Rudy. The comparison to either Salvi may be a little off, but that doesn’t matter now: both sons were in uniform for a national championship game. Those are the memories that last a lifetime for everyone in the family.
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