It is easy these days to kick dirt on Chester.
The city is once again finds itself in a life-or-death struggle.
The knee-jerk reaction is to listen to the crowd and come to the conclusion that the city is beyond help, that nothing good happens there and nothing good ever comes out of the city.
I can say categorically that is simply not the case.
Last night I had the opportunity to have dinner with Jameer Nelson. The former Chester High and Saint Joe’s star, and current All-Pro NBA guard with the Orlando Magic, was the featured speaker at our 24th annual All-Delco Awards Banquet.
Jameer Nelson has not forgotten where he came from. That would be the streets of Chester.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Chester has been in the headlines the past few days.
Nelson appeared at Springfield Country Club as the embodiment of everything that is right about the city of Chester.
And it was fascinating to watch the reaction of those in attendance. I have been to about 10 of these banquets. I have seen very few people get the reaction that Nelson did.
From the time he sat down at our table, he ignited a procession of people that simply wanted to say hello, to get a photo, or an autograph.
Nelson smiled at every one of them. He cordially signed anything that was offered. And his beaming visage now no doubt adorns refrigerators all over the county this morning, pictures that stand testament to just what Chester can produce.
I have to make a confession here. When I learned that Nelson was going to be our featured speaker, I considered making him the lead element on the front page of today’s paper. I envisioned a page with a huge picture of Nelson, and a headline that stated, “Pride of Chester.” I believe it is important to note that there are other stories in the city of Chester. Good stories. Nelson is among the best.
The truth is Nelson did not want a lot of publicity surrounding his talk last night. We had to convince him to let us use his photo in the program. He did not want to take the spotlight away from the kids. This was their night.
It was also his night. And a night for all those who so easily cast stones at the city of Chester to take note of some of the gems who have come out of that city.
Thanks for reminding us, Jameer.