Sportress of Blogitude

Blair Walsh visits first-graders who sent letters of support (vid)


Blair Walsh on Thursday morning stopped by Northpoint Elementary in Blaine, Minn., to pay a visit to a class of very thoughtful first-graders who sent him letters of support in the wake of the easily the worst day of his football career.

And the disgraced kicker who became the latest goat in the Minnesota Vikings’ tortured playoff history was greeted with a welcome more befitting a hero instead of a pariah. As in, no booing.

After Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the waning moments of the Minnesota Vikings’ tilt with the Seattle Seahawks that would have all but assured the team a victory, vitriol ran rampant towards the kicker on social media, with some comments so severe that it was suggested Walsh take his own life.

That’s when Judie Offerdahl, a first-grade teacher at Northpoint Elementary, suggested an interesting activity through which her students could learn about empathy and provide “a good teachable moment for the kids.”

The first-graders got to work, writing letters and making drawings (see some examples here) in an attempt to lift the spirits of the much-maligned placekicker.

So Walsh, upon learning about the gesture, decided to drop by and express his gratitude to the class.

“Thank you very much for all the letters and cards you wrote,” he told the kids, via the Star Tribune. “It was very touching to me. … A lot of them were very pretty and creative. … I will cherish them forever.”

The Vikings official Twitter account chronicled some of the comments Walsh made upon visiting his youngest — not to mention most artistic and amusingly inquisitive — supporters.

Perhaps most importantly, the first-graders learned about this nugget of information about Walsh.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Walsh obviously will carry the weight of his playoff failure for the weeks and months to come, if not longer. But he carried himself with class in the wake of the shanked field goal by owning up to his mistake and answering questions at a very difficult time.

Let’s hope these kids lifted his spirits in what might be one of the worst weeks of his life.