When he was a kid playing for the Verona Eagles and Verona High School Hillbillies, Dan DePalma was a huge fan of the Giants. But he never, ever imagined that he would be a huge fan playing for the Giants and traveling with the Giants to a huge game–the Super Bowl.
And yet, on Monday afternoon that was exactly where he was: On the ground in Indianapolis, getting ready to help the Giants take on–scratch, make that defeat–the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. “I’m playing for my childhood team,” he said in an interview Sunday night. “This is a dream come true.”
A dream with a lot of hard work behind it, which DePalma readily acknowledges. “I had a goal to make it to the NFL,” he said. “The mind is a very powerful weapon if you put it to work.”
This week, he will be using his mind to get inside the minds of Patriots’ receivers Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. As a member of the Giants’ practice squad, it is DePalma’s task to imitate both players to help his teammates to learn how to foil them. “We’re trying to eliminate the surprise,” he says, “and the more we do that, the better. You only get one shot at this,” he says of the big game, “and I want to make sure that I have done everything I can for my team.”
Come Sunday, DePalma will have the closest view of the Giants of anybody from Verona–but he won’t be the only Veronan in Lucas Oil Stadium. The Giants have invited his parents to be among the family members attending the game. “My parents are extremely excited and proud,” he says. “I’m glad they can experience the game with me. The Giants are a great organization to do this for our families.”
And for those in Verona who helped him along the way and who’ll be watching the game, DePalma has this message: “I will make you proud.”
Home page photo by Marianne O’Leary via Flickr
UPDATE: Indianapolis station RTV6 caught a few seconds of DePalma dancing the salsa on Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday. Much different motion than our video of DePalma at the Jets-Eagles game.
Lynne and I are on our way to Indian apolis right now. We will be at the Super Bowl (on the Big Blue package) having a blast. I can send pictures to you when I get home! Keep up all the great work on your web site!
Wave when the TV cameras point your way!