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Commitment to Excellence Award Dinner 2008 - Honoring Justin Fargas
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This past Friday evening, the Steering Committee for The Oakland Raiders Booster Clubs presented the 2007 Commitment to Excellence Award to RB Justin Fargas.. The 200-plus guests at the 6th annual award dinner were united in their support for the sixth-year Raider. Whether it was Raiders players and coaches, Fargas' family and friends or members of the Raider Nation, each individual served as a testament to Fargas accomplishments in 2007.
Each year the Steering Committee comes together and hosts the award dinner to honor the player who best exemplifies the pride, poise and spirit of The Oakland Raiders. During the season, teammates vote for the player they think personifies these qualities and dedication, and that player is then honored on the field at the last home game of the season.
The Commitment to Excellence Award has existed for over 40 years, and was known in the past as the Gorman Award. In 1995, when the Raiders moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles, they changed the name to The Commitment to Excellence Award. Since then, The Oakland Raiders have strived to make this award and ceremony more prestigious than previous years. This does not happen without the help of all 50 Booster Clubs worldwide that are recognized by the Raiders, 22 of which are Steering Committee Clubs.
Justin Fargas. was selected by the Raiders in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft and in five seasons he has accumulated 2,205 yards, six touchdowns and 100 first downs as a Raider. In 2007, he enjoyed his finest season yet, rushing for 1,009 yards on 222 carries in 14 games with four touchdowns. On September 30th, 2007, Fargas ran for a career-best 179 yards on 22 carries.
Fargas fittingly won an award that places its merits not only on statistics, but the importance of the characteristics that create a good teammate and a team player.
The commitment to excellence is not a one day or a one year thing. It is a mentality you have to have every day, even when you are having your down times and things arent looking too good, said Fargas. It doesnt matter what things say on paper, you keep working and keep your goals in mind. If you keep working towards it, you can achieve it.
The Sherman Oaks, Calif.,-native spoke with a gracious, excited and humble tone as he accepted the award from Dave Laughlin, who serves as the Chairperson of the Booster Club Steering Committee.
The award is such an honor because it is voted on by the players on the team," said Fargas. Thats why you play the game and work so hard. Its not for the accolades; it is for the respect from players around the league and more importantly on the team.
Running backs coach Tom Rathman has a close relationship with Fargas as his position coach. The two spend time running drills on the field but also time off the field game-planning and watching film. Rathman feels that Fargas dedication to both himself and the team are what led to a successful season.
The strongest thing he has is a passion and a drive for the game, said Rathman. He leads by example and lets his play speak for itself. To Rathman, Fargas represents not only a model Raider, but more importantly an ambassador for the entire sport. Anyone can play football, but not everyone can be a football player, and Justin Fargas. is a football player.
Standing in front of ballroom packed with supporters, Fargas jokingly pointed out that public speaking is not his greatest strength. Its a lot easier to run the ball in the stadium than it is to speak in front of you right now, he said with a laugh.
Before concluding his speech, Fargas wanted to impart an important personal message to those in attendance. It doesnt matter what youre going through as long as you have an ultimate goal and you keep that in mind while you are taking little steps to get there, said Fargas. I just want to thank everybody for their dedication to this organization and support for the Raiders and the support everyone has shown me.
After Fargas speech, the evening progressed in a cheerful and exciting manner as all those present had the opportunity to bid on Raider memorabilia during a live auction with the benefits going to the Justin Fargas. Youth Scholarship Fund which benefits youth athletic and academic achievement.
As the night closed out, only smiles could be seen across the faces of those in attendance as everyone present was happy to be part of a special evening that celebrated the true spirit and nature of The Oakland Raiders - a Commitment to Excellence.
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