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“He could do it all, beat every opponent . . . except one.”
–plaque honoring Ernie Davis, in the lobby of Elmira Free Academy

Ernie Davis was an All-American on the gridiron, and a man of integrity off the field. A multi-sport high school star in Elmira, New York, Davis went on to Syracuse University, where as a sophomore he led his team to an undefeated season and a national championship in 1959, and earned his nickname, the Elmira Express. Two seasons later, Davis had broken the legendary Jim Brown’s rushing records, and became the first black athlete to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.

The number one pick in the 1962 NFL draft, Davis signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns and appeared to be headed for professional stardom. But Davis never ended up playing in the NFL: He was diagnosed with leukemia during the summer before his rookie season and succumbed to the disease less than a year later. In battling his illness, Davis showed great dignity and courage, inspired the nation, and moved President John F. Kennedy to eulogize him as “ an outstanding man of great character.”

An enduring story of a true scholar-athlete, The Express is a touching, impeccably researched, deeply personal portrait of Ernie Davis, and a vivid look at sport in America at the dawn of the Civil Rights era. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .


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27 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Elmira Express 2 septembre 2008
Par A. D. Cox - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The Elmira Express

I love the Twin Tiers in the autumn. The days are still warm; the nights cool, giving birth to vibrant fall colors. The hills seem almost alive, and the threat of colder weather is a promise on the wind. Fall in the Twin Tiers ushers in a revered tradition. When it's autumn in America, it's time for football. Across the land, in big cities and small towns, in large stadiums and rural high schools--the sights, sounds, and colors of the game are all around us. The common thread is the game, and the athletes that practice and play it with heart and determination to the very best of their abilities.

Few players have shown more heart or determination than Ernie Davis. Davis was born on Dec. 14, 1939, in New Salem, Pa. His parents separated shortly after his birth, and his father was soon killed in an accident. He grew up in poverty in Uniontown, a coal-mining town 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, where caring grandparents raised him.
At 12, Davis moved to live with his mother and stepfather in Elmira. He went on to become Elmira's favorite son, both as an outstanding athlete and as a respected and well-loved citizen. Ernie's talent bloomed, and the honors came early and often. He led Elmira Free Academy to a 52-game winning streak in basketball and as a Syracuse sophomore helped the Orangemen gain their only national football championship.

As a senior in 1961, he became the first African American athlete to win the Heisman trophy and was the number one pick in the 1962 NFL draft. And then, suddenly, he was gone. He was diagnosed with leukemia the summer before his rookie season. He never played in the NFL, but succumbed to the disease less than a year later. Though Ernie never played a game for the Cleveland Browns, they retired his number 45, worn only in practice.
Davis was easily recognized as a great athlete, but his high school coach, Marty Harrigan, summed up what many felt for Ernie Davis when he said, "Everyone knew Ernie's athletic greatness, but few realized what a great human he was. His concern for his fellow man, and his affection for children, was sincere."

I think this is what moved me the most when I read The Express, The Ernie Davis Story by Robert C. Gallagher. There are lots of talented professional athletes today, and most of them are more than willing to inform you just how gifted they are, but the media exposure never changed him. "Ernie was the same kid at the end as he was at the start," said Jim Flynn, his high school basketball coach.
Ernie believed he was fortunate to be so gifted and never took his ability for granted. He worked hard both on the field and in the classroom. "Ernie was always the first one on the practice field and the last to leave." Many athletes, assured of a college scholarship, would have coasted in class, but "Ernie worked hard when it wasn't popular to get good grades. The teachers loved him. He never would excuse himself from work and say he had too many outside activities." Ernie intended to play professional football, but he knew that career expectancy in the NFL was only a few seasons, so he wanted to be prepared for another career when he retired from football. He believed that education would lead to social and economic success.

Syracuse University experienced its greatest football success during Ernie's career. The Orangemen became the national champions and winners of the Cotton Bowl. Four days before the game, Ernie pulled a hamstring while practicing place kicks. It was doubtful right up until game time whether he could play. Before leaving the game in the fourth quarter, he scored two touchdowns, including a then Bowl-record pass play, scored twice on two-point conversions, and intercepted a pass that led to Syracuse's final touchdown.

He was voted the game's Most Valuable Player. Davis was to have received his MVP award at the awards banquet that night. But when bowl officials said that only white players were invited to the dinner and that Davis would have to leave after picking up his trophy, the Syracuse team refused to attend.

It was Ernie's performance against the University of Pittsburgh that same year which inspired the nickname "The Elmira Express." Elmira Star-Gazette sports writer Al Mallette coined the phrase. Penn State coach Joe Paterno had this to say about Ernie Davis: "He's the kind of runner you hate to coach against; you can't instruct a boy to tackle a man if he can't catch him."

It was December 1961 when Ernie won the Heisman trophy. Winning the Heisman is a significant accomplishment regardless of the year or player, but it was a significant racial breakthrough at a time with segregation was just beginning to become a social issue. Today, black players often win the award, and it might be hard for his contemporaries to appreciate his achievement.

When he was in New York to receive the Heisman, Davis was treated with media coverage usually reserved for national heroes. President John Kennedy was in the city at the time and asked to see Ernie, a visit that thrilled him. "Imagine," Davis said, "a president wanting to shake hands with me."

Ernie was the number one pick for the 1962 National Football League draft following his senior year. The Washington Redskins had the initial selection, but soon traded him to the Cleveland Browns, who signed him to a three-year no-cut, no-trade $65,000 contract with a $15,000 signing bonus, a new record for a rookie.

The next summer while training for the upcoming All-Star game, Ernie awoke with swelling in his neck. A trainer sent him to the hospital, and doctors soon discovered the leukemia. At the time, Ernie and the public were told only that he had a "blood disorder". He wasn't told it was leukemia until October, after he had been in and out of the hospital. "Either you fight or you give up," Davis said in remembering how he felt when told the news.

The disease went into remission, and Davis kept planning on pro football. He practiced with the Browns. Coach Paul Brown, heeding the advice of medical people who warned him of the risks, did not play Davis. The next spring, Davis noticed more swelling and entered the hospital again. Two days later, on May 18, he died in his sleep. In Elmira, more than 10,000 citizens passed the Neighborhood House on May 21 where Ernie lay in state. Flags in the city were flown at half-mast. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, also the burial place of Mark Twain.

Universal Pictures has finished production on the film adaptation of Davis's life. The movie is slated for release Oct. 10. The book is available now. Stop by your local bookstore or library and check it out. You can catch Kevin tailgating at From My Shelf Books in Wellsboro.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Inspiring Story 16 septembre 2008
Par Mahlon Christensen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The Express is the story of Ernie Davis, the 1961 Heisman Trophy winning running back from Syracuse. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but never played a down in the NFL because he was diagnosed with Leukemia soon after. It is the basis for the upcoming movie of the same name and has been updated to coincide with it's release.

It's not a very well written book, the writing is often repetitive, and the author reprints way too many newspaper articles verbatim. In my opinion, this greatly impedes the flow of the book. He prefers a more freeflowing style, jumping from anecdote to anecdote, rather than sticking to a linear timeline, which is often distracting to the reader. As a result, the book reads more like what it is, a great collection of interviews, rather than a cohesive biography. Sometimes the story is greater than the author's ability to tell it. Despite these flaws, this book is still a worthwhile read, and it's short enough
that you shouldn't have any problem reading it in two days max.

I knew very little about Ernie Davis before I read this book, mostly that he had been an outstanding college player at Syracuse, and that he had died before realizing his dream of playing in the NFL. It was very inspiring to read about the great humility and personal courage with which he lived his life, and faced not only his illness, but also the racism that all black players endured during that era.

I would recommend this book to any football fan or player who is unfamiliar with the story of "The Elmira Express"

Ernie Davis should always be remembered, not for how he died, but for how he lived.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Provides the facts about Ernie Davis 1 décembre 2008
Par Larry W. Cornwell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I saw the movie first and knew that some of the facts in the movie were not quite correct. After reading the book, I was more impressed with Ernie Davis,the man, than the man featured in the movie. The book was excellent and Ernie Davis was a great man even in his short life.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Profile in Courage 7 octobre 2008
Par Best Of All - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The movie tie-in is actually a biography of Ernie Davis that was published in 1983 - The Elmira Express: the Story of Ernie Davis - which is given a new title to coincide with the film.

The book succinctly covers the life of Davis, who was a phenomenal high school athlete in Elmira, New York, an incredible gridiron star at Syracuse University and the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

The number one pick in the 1962 NFL by the Washington Redskins, the rights to Davis was soon traded to the Cleveland Browns. Davis never played a down in pro football, as he was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 1962 and passed away in 1963.

Davis did suit up once for Cleveland, running onto the field with the team before an exhibition game. There has been a lingering controversy fueled by sportswriters from that era that Browns owner Art Modell actually wanted the ill Davis to participate in the contest, if only for one play.

Though there is special focus on the athletic prowess, author Robert C. Gallagher does not neglect the positive and majestic personality of Davis or the societal times of the civil rights movement and racism, which was played out on football fields, neighborhoods and city streets throughout the nation. Sports does mirror society, even in its most ugliness.

But Davis was an inspirational figure who was - as eulogized by President John F. Kennedy - "an outstanding man of great character." Not only a great read for adults, the book is for young people, since it truly defines a profile in courage and a hero who used athletics in his short lifetime for a greater good.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I was there! 5 juillet 2011
Par "Mugsie" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I went to school, EFA, with Ernie, never missed a football, baseball or basketball game of his. He was the best in every sport! Then I went to Syracuse U. and Ernie and my boyfriend, his roommate, Will Fitzgerald, followed the next year. Again, I never missed a football game, and still remember the 97 yard touchdown he ran against Colgate U. Ernie was loved by all, and racicism was very rare on campus! "The Express" was written for the screen..."Halo for a Helmet" was written from up close and personal. Ernie was what I call an "Earth Angel". He changed my world. Mugsie
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