There’s a reason why student athletes must keep their grades up to maintain their eligibility. Reading, writing, and arithmetic unlock career opportunities. Not just in an office, but in stadiums and arenas around the world. As legendary NFL Long Snapper Patrick Mannelly put it, “Playbooks aren’t just a bunch of X’s and O’s.” They’re a reading, writing and arithmetic assignment.
That’s one of the reasons why he has teamed up with Darrin Utynek, CEO of Bernie’s Book Bank, to help build home libraries for children in underserved communities. Books are powerful. They help millions of people write better stories for themselves. And the sooner a child starts to read, the sooner they can start to build their (literacy) superpower and find their literal superpower – on and off the field.
The other reason: Patrick loves to share a good story. And, boy, does he have a lot of stories. Not just about how he accidentally became a Long Snapper in the backyard of his childhood home, or how he went on to become the most storied long snapper in NFL history. Rather, Patrick’s stories – the ones he feels we should be telling more often – are the stories of all the other Long Snappers whose steady hands, quiet dedication and selflessness have made them arguably the most valuable members of every football team out there. So, when Patrick was looking for a way to get the stories of these unsung heroes out to the world, he found a “publisher” in Bernie’s Book Bank.
Now, Bernie’s Book Bank hosts the Patrick Mannelly Award dinner* each December to simultaneously share inspiring stories of college long snappers and help fundraise for the book distributions that help inspire elementary school students to one day become a “long snapper” – whether on the football field, the legal field, healthcare, or any profession that calls to them.
Tune into our 30-minute chat now to hear more about the unsung heroes that Patrick and Darrin have come together to honor and help nurture: