Rob Sims on Fatherhood, Legacy and Giving Back
As a professional football player in Detroit, Rob Sims has taken and given out his share of punishment. But nothing could prepare the 6’3, 320-pound guard for the blow he took just a month after he was drafted in 2006 – the passing of his father Mickey, also a former professional football player from Cleveland.
“You can imagine, I’m at the height [of success], you know what I mean?” remembers Rob. “And then one call. Boom. It’s done.”
In the months and years that followed, Sims struggled with the void left by his father, known in his playing days as the “Gentle Giant,” whom Sims remembers as “a real country man” from Union, South Carolina.
“He was just the best person you would ever meet,” Sims said. “He would take anybody in. He would feed anybody, clothe anybody, anything he could do.”
Finding help, delivering a message of hope
Despite his success in the years following his father’s passing, Sims found himself feeling empty – until he was able to work through his long-standing grief and focus his attention back out to the community, living the way his father would have lived and helping others who suffer loss like he did.
Sims and his family have learned to take their love of Mickey and focus it outward. Now, Sims honors his father by helping others who are on the same journey and raising funds for Cornerstone of Hope so that it can help others find peace.
Cornerstone of Hope, in Cleveland, Ohio, was founded by Mark Tripodi and his wife, Christy, after the loss of their son. The organization is supported by State Farm.
“When we tried to find support in our town, in our community, it was exhausting,” Tripodi remembers. “I’m proud to say that we’ve been in the community for many years now. And all of our programs are geared towards serving grieving children, teens and adults.”
A father’s lasting legacy
And Sims reminds others through his words and deeds what it means to be a father and to leave a lasting legacy: from the memories of a life well lived that children carry, to ensuring the economic security of the family through life insurance and financial responsibility, to doing good works in the community that last long after a man is gone.
“Everybody’s got a time, everybody has got a day when it’s going to be over,” Sims says. “But you leave your mark, just by being the person you are while you’re here and setting your family up for the future.”
(mouse over image below to reveal and click on additional interactive content)