Bill Bidwill, a good man
Aside from being an NFL team owner, Bidwill was a very good man. He was great for the community, very charitable, and a man of faith, as so many have recalled on Wednesday.
His faith and sense of community took him right through my own path in 1989 and 1990, seasons 2 and 3 for the Cardinals in Arizona. You see, Bidwill went to Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland. The school for those that aren’t aware, is a Catholic college prep/high school run by the Jesuits.
In Arizona, Brophy College Prep is run by the Jesuits. I happened to be a student at Brophy when the Cardinals moved to the Valley of the Sun.
In 1989 he called upon Brophy’s president at the time, Fr. Robert Mathewson, S.J., to find him 6 boys to be ballboys for their training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Cardinals trained in Flagstaff from 1988-2012.
I happened to be lucky enough to be selected as one of those ballboys through an interview process. As a 16-year old at the time, nothing was more exciting than being called to help the Cardinals at training camp.
I had the opportunity to set up fields, help warm up quarterbacks and kickers at practice. We even got to work the preseason games at Sun Devil Stadium.
In 1989, he invited the Brophy boys again. This time, a little extra help was needed to get me there. Initially he was going to bring in 5 of the 6 and I had not been made aware that the choices had already been made for that second year.
However Fr. Mathewson got ahold of Bidwill, explained the situation with the mis-communication of not getting a chance to re-up my selection from a season prior. Bidwill gave me the green light to do it one more time.
We got to do a lot of the same things from the year before. I got hold practice kicks for Al Del Greco and even had that chance in the pregame warmups at the preseason game I worked that year as well. That game was against head coach Mike Ditka and the Chicago Bears.
Getting the experience of being on the same playing field as a Hall of Fame legend for one night – all due to the generosity of Bill Bidwill. His family is much of the same way.
One of his kids, Tim (Michael’s brother), was a ballboy as well. Tim was always looking out for us, something I’m sure instilled in him by Bill.
Maybe one of the most memorable things I did during my time, was help the team move into their new (and still standing) team headquarters in August 1990. I was able to help the team move in after they came back down the hill from Flagstaff.