GREEN BAY – Last weekend’s Pop Warner Scholarship Banquet at Walt Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort was a homecoming of sorts for Sam Barrington.
While the Packers fourth-year linebacker was raised in Jacksonville – or more specifically Duval County – he actually was born in Orlando on Oct. 5, 1990.
At the time, his father and namesake was working construction at Yacht Club (the resort opened in November 1990) when Barrington’s mom went into labor at nearby Arnold Palmer Hospital.
Twenty five years later, Barrington returned to the same place his father helped build to accept Pop Warner’s Humanitarian Award, an honor given to individuals who portray both outstanding athletic achievement and high humanitarian principles while serving as an inspiration to the youth of today.
Talk about making a long-awaited return.
“My dad is a big construction guy,” said Barrington during his speech. “He built a lot of this area, the Yacht Club and a lot of Disney. He was working on this same building when my mom went into labor with me and 25 years later I’m here giving this speech for my efforts in the community.”
The Pop Warner banquet held special meaning for Barrington, whose involvement with the organization began when he was 7 years old after he and his brother urged their mom to let them sign up to play football.
Barrington has been extremely active in the community, particularly in Green Bay. This past season, he was selected by his teammates as the Packers’ winner of the Ed Block Courage Award and also received the 2015 community service award from the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
Barrington spent most of last season on injured reserve with a foot injury he sustained in the opener against Chicago, but said during last week’s during organized team activities that the injury allowed him to expand his charitable efforts.
During his speech, Barrington encouraged the players in the audience to invest in relationships, always show proper respect and always be charitable toward one another.
He also offered a challenge to those in attendance.
“I urge you guys – I tell my younger siblings this all the time. … Don’t do what’s comfortable,” Barrington said. “Because the things that are comfortable to you, it doesn’t benefit you anything. Working out hard is not comfortable. Doing things the right way is not always comfortable.
“But the thing about it is – when you get out of that comfort zone, that’s where you grow the most. I can assure you that’s where you grow the most.”
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