BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO QUIT, REMEMBER GRANT DANZER
In our town, there’s a plaque that stands in the weeds catty-corner to the Muehleck Field sign on Prospect Avenue. It’s been in that spot since the 1980's. Pardon me for saying this, but that plaque is long forgotten and the honest truth is, it shouldn't be. In fact, there are hundreds of us in the Oradell Community that have no idea why that plaque is there. That's about to change. I’m about to tell you a story about one of the most heroic athletes we have ever had in Oradell, and once you learn about Grant Danzer… I hope you never walk passed that memorial without feeling the strength he had. In short, on those very hard game days, on the day you may want to give up, the fact is, you should think about Grant Danzer.
Grant’s story is about inspiration, determination and pure guts. A young man that caught a tough break, but it never stopped him from being not only a great athlete, but a great person.
“He was just a great guy. Honor roll, Varsity on the Wrestling Team at River Dell,” said Ken Baumann, former President of the Oradell Little League and someone who graduated with Danzer from River Dell High School in 1978. “Grant never quit. "
You see, Grant Danzer had his leg amputated at the hip at age 12. He had cancer. But before that, he was a dymanic All-Star Little Leaguer that played on Hoffman and Muehleck just like our kids do today. Now many would assume that’s where his story ends, but that’s not the case at all.
Grant Danzer didn’t stop playing baseball. In fact, he never felt sorry for himself and never quit his competitive nature. After a brief absence from sports, Grant Danzer emerged and continued playing baseball now wearing his new prosthetic leg in the Babe Ruth League. On Caruso field, Grant continued to play. He still hit, pitched and now played first base because he wasn't as mobile as he once was. But Danzer’s hunger as told to me by former classmates was always there. His persistence did not stop because he lost his leg. In fact, one would suggest it grew.
When he reached high school, he was determined to get good grades and compete in wrestling and track, lettering in both. Grant graduated in 1978, winning the prestigious Al Del Greco award, a prize awarded to top athletes. With every goal Grant wanted to achieve, academically or athletically, he did.
In 1981, Grant Danzer lost his battle with cancer. At the age of 20 the cancer consumed him, but his name lives on and in my opinion, should be one of legend. Grant is a member of the River Dell Hall of Fame and each year, the ‘Grant Danzer Award’ is given to the senior who most demonstrates courage and strength as well as overcoming adversity.
So you see, Grant Danzer never quit… ever. When it got hard, when there were setbacks, he became more determined to overcome them. He tackled obstacles head on making the most of his life until he couldn’t any longer. Even with a prosthetic leg. Even when no one thought he could. He did, because he believed in himself.
Sports can often be difficult. But when they are, I want you to think about Grant Danzer’s story. Keep it in your thoughts and understand the resiliency of this man and what he overcame in his short life.
In baseball,there are good and bad days. It’s in those bad days; the strikeouts, errors, misplays and heartbreaking losses that sometimes brings doubt. You may even feel like giving up. But when that happens, I want you to ask yourself, “What would Grant Danzer had done?” You know the answer. Grant wouldn’t have quit, and neither should you.
Believe in yourself. Believe there are no limits.
Trust that while failure and obstacles lie everywhere… it is YOU that can achieve greatness.
Grant Danzer is one of the most inspiring athletes this town has ever known. His resilience should give you the strength that even on those toughest of days, you will understand one very important message…