This book is about raising a legacy. It is my hope that with this book, I am able to introduce readers to my son, Marquise Hill, a born athlete and an incredible human being, who tragically passed away in May 2007. I would like everybody to feel as if they had known him in his lifetime, in a way as familiar and beloved as a well-worn, comfortable house shoe. I give my thanks to the wonderful people and organizations who have, in different ways, inspired my son and helped him fulfill his purpose and dreams and honored him after his passing.
“Author Sherry Hill shares her personal story of love and lost by Cyrus Webb”Around this time of year it seems as though we begin to think about the importance of giving. I’m sure that not many of us would refute the fact that it is a lot easier to put ourselves first and let others fend for themselves, but we know that is not the way it is supposed to be. In fact, the words of a great teacher who we tend to remember especially during the month of December noted that “No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.” (John 15:13)
This comes to mind when I think of a new book that was just released called The Marquise Hill Story: From The Cradle to the Bowl by author Sherry Hill. Marquise was the author’s son and a football defensive end for the New England Patriots of the National Football League. In his short twenty-four years of life he accomplished more than many twice or even three times his age. His existence on earth ended in a tragic ski accident in May 2007.
Marquise Hill’s beginning was like many others. Living in Louisiana, he attended De La Salle High School in New Orleans at a time when crime and violence was already taking so many young lives. Sherry wanted more for her son and made sure that he was surrounded by the best advice and counsel he could receive. She writes this: “Respect the less fortunate, handicapped, homeless, and elderly. That is the message my mother (Marquise’s grandmother) made sure to drum into him … Race, color, or creed are incidental and do not matter. This belief was ingrained in him early on in life.” (p.72)
Keeping the teachings of his upbringing in mind, Marquise excelled in life, and in the process developed a love for football. ESPN, USA Today, The Sporting News, Rivals.com, Super Prep, and Fox Sports all recognized Hill as a first-team All-American, and Tom Lemming of ESPN recognized him as the National Lineman of the Year. He played college football in Louisiana State University and was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
But success in the game didn’t keep Hill from knowing there was something more important in life. When New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, he gave of his time and resources to help his family and others. Sherry writes: “He recognized the rewards of living a simple life and doing God’s work … He felt he had no minute to waste making mistakes and taking the wrong decisions. Life was too short. It was how he was and how he lived. Eventually, it was how he died.”
Indeed, Sherry lost her son in an accident where he helped another get to safety. His success and notoriety didn’t erase the lessons of his life. If anything, they were enhanced. Perfect for the holiday season, The Marquise Hill Story is full of lessons about life and love, triumph and self-discovery. It helps us realize that sometimes the greatest gift we could ever give is of ourselves. That in itself is priceless.