Every sport has its share of jerks.
Without naming anyone, let’s just say I’ve run across my fair share of arrogant and just outright rude athletes, coaches and even fans over the years.
Class acts like NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz make up for it.
Both are enjoying amazing years and are doing so with humility and dignity.
Truex, who grew up in Stafford Township, has dominated NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series, earning an incredible seven victories. The 1998 Southern Regional High School graduate has the most wins in a season since Carl Edwards took nine checkered flags in 2008.
Wentz has thrown an NFL-best 23 touchdown passes while leading the Eagles (8-1) to the best record in the NFL. He is a leading candidate for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.
They have the opportunity to add more milestones Sunday.
Truex will be seeking to earn the Cup series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. He doesn’t have to win the Ford EcoBoost 400 to take the title. He only needs to drive his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota across the finish line before the other three members of the Championship 4: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski.
On Sunday night, the No. 11 Wentz Wagon will try to lap the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. An Eagles victory would give them with a commanding lead in the NFC East and leave them on the pole for the conference race toward the Super Bowl.
Truex and Wentz actually have a lot in common.
For instance, they both like to spend their off time in search of deer, fish or birdies.
Wentz spent the Eagles’ open week hunting in the woods of South Jersey with older brother Zach. He’s also been known to share a tree stand with Millville’s Mike Trout — another member of the first-class club — who is an Eagles’ season ticket holder and friend.
Truex spent a few days between races earlier this month in a tree stand at an undisclosed location. He can usually be found on a farm in Ohio that he owns with fellow NASCAR driver and good friend Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will be ending his legendary career Sunday.
They devote their time, energy and money toward worthy causes.
The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, created in 2007 by Martin and longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, has raised millions to help fight ovarian and childhood cancers. Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014.
Three year ago, the Martin Truex Jr. Pediatric Care Center at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford Township opened.
Earlier this season, Wentz established the Carson Wentz AO1 (Audience of One) Foundation. It focuses on helping underprivileged youth living abroad and providing local children with service dogs to “assist with their development and quality of life.”
Last spring, Wentz was given a rubber bracelet with the message “Dutch Destroyer” by Lukas Kusters, a 9-year-old from Wilmington, Delaware who died in August at the age of 9 of cancer. Kusters was buried in his Wentz Eagles jersey. Wentz never takes off the bracelet, even wearing it during games.
Perhaps their lack of arrogance stems from the journeys they took to get to the top.
In 2013, Truex was without a full-time ride on NASCAR’s main circuit. Before a tiny outfit named Furniture Row Racing stepped up, he was close to joining his father in the family clamming business.
That same year, Wentz was a backup sophomore quarterback at North Dakota State University in Fargo. NFL scouts had no idea who he was.
Who’s having the better year?
Tough to say.
Both have had a tremendous amount of success.
More importantly, they’ve done it with class.
(David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.)
Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg