St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version

Christy defined by hard work


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 1, 2000

TAMPA -- It was Jan. 12, 1975, and the Christy clan was ensconced around the television at their Freeport, Pa., home, watching the Steelers upend the Vikings 16-6 in Super Bowl IX.

Elmer and Carole didn't know then, of course, that their youngest child, Jeff, then almost 6, would go on to become a Pro Bowl center in the NFL. Who could make such a prediction?

Then again, it isn't that much of a surprise. This they were certain of: Jeff could -- and almost always did -- accomplish anything he put his mind to.

He was talented, sure. But he was also determined. A hard worker. Resourceful, smart and clever.

"He was pretty daggone good at anything he did," Elmer Christy said. "As luck would have it, at that (age), you never know what life is going to bring. But he was always, what you might say, an opportunist.

"He seemed to be in the right place at the right time. He always handled everything well."

Elmer recalls how Jeff would just plop down in front of the TV and start working out: "He would always be doing sit-ups or push-ups, even as a little kid." But Jeff had a role model then. Brother Greg, his senior by seven years and a future NFL player himself, for Buffalo, set the example early.

"Greg lifted weights religiously," their father said, "and Jeff always wanted to lift weights, but I would never let him. I had Greg teach him the proper technique, just using a bar and no weights on it. That's how he got started."

Christy's mother recalls her son's athletic origins.

"He has a lot of God-given, natural talent," Carole said. "He was good at everything, no matter what he did. He has trophies, ribbons, awards for every sport.

"He was just a very, very dear son."

Ask Jeff about his childhood and the 31-year-old rattles off few details.

He was a Steelers fan. A big Steelers fan. He was brought up in a blue-collar world, lived a "middle of the road" life, and is proud of both. His parents worked hard for Jeff; sister Marcia, six years older than Jeff; and Greg to ensure the family never wanted for anything.

There was baseball and football in the back yard and bike riding everywhere, and hunting and fishing trips with his father.

It was a time Christy was just beginning to realize his athletic potential -- yet didn't know enough to understand what being injured was all about.

"I remember playing backyard (tackle) football," he said. "It was always fun. I dislocated my little pinky finger. At the time, I didn't know enough that it was supposed to hurt. I just popped it back in.

"I didn't cry until I got to the hospital and they told me what I did."

Q: What was your life like back then?

A: My life was very simple. We weren't struggling by any means. Looking back, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Q: Who was your role model then?

A: I looked up to my parents. But my brother, Greg, was my role model growing up. I always looked up to him. He was an older guy, and he played football, baseball and track.

Q: If you could impart some wisdom to yourself back then, what would it be?

A: I would say that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.


Jan. 12, 1975

New Orleans

Steelers 16, Vikings 6

MVP: Franco Harris, Steelers running back (34 carries for a Super Bowl-record 158 yards and a touchdown).

IN THE NEWS: Jan. 1: Former Attorney General John Mitchell and Nixon advisers H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are found guilty of the Watergate coverup. Feb. 21: Mitchell, Haldeman and Ehrlichman are sentenced to 30 months to eight years in jail. April: Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia. Sept. 5: President Ford escapes an assassination attempt in Sacramento, Calif. Sept. 22: Ford escapes a second assassination attempt.


MUSIC OF THE MOMENT: The Hustle/Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony

EVERYBODY'S WATCHING: Little House on the Prairie

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk


  • Dungy can see Bucs winning
  • Mirror images brace for collision
  • Buccaneers by the numbers
  • TV analysis: Jackie Slater
  • Buccaneers matchups
  • Buccaneers quick hits
  • Buccaneers best and worst: game 5
  • Bucs chat
  • 1976 was a learning experience
  • Christy defined by hard work
  • Middleton pulls no punches
  • Pressure doesn't faze Turner
  • This Washington is focused on Bucs, too
  • Devil Rays

  • 2000 Rays take 'step backwards'
  • Red Sox wave off Rays as Hernandez blows it
  • A's make Monday game more likely
  • Williams proves worthy of MVP
  • Devil Rays season wrapup
  • Lightning

  • Lightning will have a new look
  • College football

  • Bullied!
  • UF extra points
  • Florida defense gets that rundown feeling
  • QB rotation looks more likely
  • Bullied
  • Blackwell strong on the run again
  • Bulls tip away rallyin the fourth quarter
  • College football around the nation
  • College football this week on TV
  • Preps

  • Defense remains depleted
  • Player of the week: Heather Bubolo
  • New leadership pays dividends for Titans
  • Knights take Suncoast title
  • Class 2A's best wins Red Mule boys title
  • Crusader wins in Gainesville
  • Knights take Suncoast title
  • Charger scores five TDs in dismantling of Eagles
  • Jesuit wins Red Mule
  • Berkeley holds on for win
  • Et cetera

  • Mizell's mailbag
  • Sports briefs
  • Managers survive, until now
  • Baseball briefs
  • Kudos for booting interloper
  • Flipping puts the biggest bass in range
  • Highs and lows
  • NHL briefs
  • Captain's corner
  • NFL games
  • Manning's maturity helps Colts develop
  • NFL briefs

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts