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Matt Suoja: Something bigger than the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is finally here. Wait, I'm not going to write about it; I have something more important to share with you. Dave Lane, who recently won the Special Olympics (SOM) Minnesota Male Athlete of the year award, seems a lot more pertinent ...

The Super Bowl is finally here. Wait, I'm not going to write about it; I have something more important to share with you.

Dave Lane, who recently won the Special Olympics (SOM) Minnesota Male Athlete of the year award, seems a lot more pertinent at this time.

When I sat down with Dave, his mom Nancy and mentor Kevin Sternal at Miller Dwan Tuesday, I knew I could not write about the Super Bowl with any passion.

Haven't you had enough Super Bowl talk anyway?

All Dave has done is win 18 medals, run Grandma's half-marathon numerous times and competed in the North Shore Inline Marathon on several occasions.

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In his spare time (it boggles my mind he has any) he works at St. Mary's. He has also put in over 4,000 volunteer hours.

He also serves as an ambassador for SOM, traveling all over and telling people how great they are.

He has accomplished many other things too, but I don't have room to mention them all here.

Why is so much time dedicated to the Super Bowl, when there are stories like Dave's all over?

No one can stop talking about Tom Brady's boot and Bill Belichick's attitude.

More of an emphasis should be put on people like Dave Lane.

What he's doing is more important. He should be an inspiration to us all.

You've heard me say it before, but society should take a closer look at stories such as this because these people are the ones who inspire.

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Some would say Brady should serve as an inspiration. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft and didn't have much of a chance of being a major contributor to his team or the NFL. I don't think I need to tell you how that turned out.

This story isn't inspirational. He got drafted, people ... he must have been pretty good to even get a shot.

Even if he made the team his rookie season and he was getting paid the minimum salary, he's still making more money in one year (for playing or not playing a game) than a lot of other people.

Sitting down with Dave gave me a better perspective of how athletes are spoiled.

Dave has won championships and glory, but you wouldn't know it by meeting him.

He almost seemed like he didn't want to talk about how many championships he's won.

This type of attitude is rare in sports culture.

How many times do you see an athlete celebrating after doing something small?

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It's ridiculous to see someone dance and prance after getting a touchdown or a home run.

Aren't they special, they are doing something they are getting paid for.

Oh yeah, and a million other people have done it too.

You won't see me celebrating after this story gets done (jumping around the office).

Even if you like it, don't celebrate me, celebrate Dave.

He has something most athletes don't have: a strong will and an even better attitude.

Talent can only take an athlete ... any human being so far. There needs to be something else. They need to serve a greater purpose.

How many athletes can you think of that do this?

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There is a handful, but there should be a lot more.

Many star athletes should take a closer look at their lives, or at Dave Lane.

Matt Suoja is a reporter with the Budgeteer News. He can be reached by e-mail at msuoja@duluthbudgeteer.com or by phone at 723-1207.

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