Park City’s Sims has plenty to celebrate
Last night, one could assume Park City’s very own NFL star Barry Sims was likely celebrating his Oakland Raider’s first win of the season over the Arizona Cardinals, 22-9.
logging onto his new personal Web site, http://www.barrysims.net , one could find out for sure.
The six-foot, five-inch, 300-pound offensive lineman who once graced the turf at Dozier Field from 1991-1993, has had more than last night’s win to celebrate in the past year. Besides the launching of his new site this spring, two weeks ago he celebrated his 100th career start in the National Football League and yesterday’s game marked his 67th consecutive start.
"It’s a rough game," Sims said. "I feel good to have played that many games."
Such an accomplishment is amazing for any player that absorbs such physical stress week in and week out, but for Sims, it’s also a triumph of will and determination that he hopes any young Park City football player can learn from. And he’s hoping to convey some of that through his personal accounts and life story that can be found on his website.
"I wasn’t one of the highly touted guys and I always had to work hard," Sims said. "If you work hard, I do think you can be successful."
Sims began his journey playing football for the Miners his sophomore through senior years. Although he had the size and strength, he was not the top lineman coming out of high school and played two years at Dixie State Junior College. He then transferred to the University of Utah, where his hard work and commitment to improvement started to pay off and he began to shine.
Sims received NFL interest before his senior year, so he worked as hard as he could to earn All-Conference honors. NFL scouts said he was would be a mid- to late-round pick in the 1997 NFL draft.
Sims was flying high when he was invited to the Hula Bowl all-star game at the end of that senior season and he was eager show off his skills before the draft. Then, during a Hula Bowl practice, he blew out his knee. An examination determined he had extensive bone damage and might not return to football. But undeterred, Sims started rehab while finishing his sociology degree.
Eventually, Sims was ready to return to football, but with two years wasted and questions about the long-term health of his knee, he had trouble getting into the NFL. So, Sims once again used his will and determination to earn people’s respect and began playing in the NFL Europe league.
A year later, he had earned his way onto the Oakland Raiders squad and has been there ever since.
Sims shares this story on his website, as well as weekly journals about the ups and downs of life as a professional football player. He also posts pictures of his friends and family, shares information about his charitable organizations and even offers fans the opportunity to e-mail him directly. This week he has pictures of various Raiders wishing his grandpa, Harald a happy 80th birthday.
Although Oakland has struggled as of late, Sims says that he tries to avoid negative journal entries.
"I try to stay positive all the time, because there’s positive stuff all the time," Sims said. "I just let people know how I feel behind the scenes."
The says the intent of his Web site is not to be self-serving, but rather to share the blessings in his life with his fans, especially those that have supported him along the way, including many people in Park City.
"It’s [playing football] fun. It’s an opportunity I was able to take advantage of and I appreciate everyone’s support," Sims said.
He said that although he doesn’t respond to all of his email, he makes sure to read everything that comes his way. Fans, friends and even critics send him letters and photos daily and he hopes that more Parkites will log onto the Web site and send him their thoughts and news from his hometown.
He says he has also been keeping abreast of the Miners perfect football season. Although he is very busy and somewhat removed from his high school playing days, he stays he still feels proud when they are doing well. He even had a special message for the team as they enter the playoffs one, of course, of hard work and determination.
"Keep fighting and keep working and take nobody for granted and good luck," Sims said.
Hopefully the Miners will soon give him one more thing to celebrate.
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