Looking Into The Heart Of A Giant


James Porter-Delgardo, Editor for Sports

Commitment, Character, Teamwork, Dedication, Will. These are the traits of a “Heart of a Giant” award winner. Back in 2017, Mendham alumnus, Sebastian Quinn, won this award. Now our very own Shane Sullivan is a 2021 finalist for “Heart of a Giant.”

The “Heart of a Giant” award is provided by the Hospital of Special Surgery and the New York Giants. This program highlights tri-state area high school football players that have overcome adversity on and off the field. A member of the New York Giants comes to the winning student’s school to present the award as well as a $5,000 grant for the sports equipment.

At a young age, Shane spent the first 11 days of his life in a neonatal intensive-care unit. At age 2, his vision problems were diagnosed, and was given special glasses with a lighter prescription, to improve his eyesight. 

During freshman year, Sullivan dislocated his shoulder and tried to persevere through the pain on his own. He said,

“I love the game, I love my team, I didn’t want to miss a snap of football.”

— Shane Sullivan

Shane has always had to deal with the adversity his visual impairment brings; in school, he has to cope with it by sitting in the front of the classroom. On the field, people would see him and instantly think less of his abilities. He plays in the lineman position because it’s one of the most physical and hands-on positions in the game. Shane sees football as “a chance for me to go out there and prove to everyone who is doubting that I am an athlete and I can do this.”

Teachers, coaches, family, and friends all agree that Shane has shown a lot of strength and would be a great winner for this award. He is an inspiration to his classmates and always motivating others. He will always be found around the halls before class, greeting everybody and psyching them up for the oncoming day. Upon meeting him, Mr. Ryan noted his, “look forward not back” attitude. 

Mrs. Dolan, Shane’s English teacher, explains how he “makes teaching worth teaching”, and “he will give you his best and then some.” Shane’s coach on the field, Mr. Jeros mentioned, “The second I got out there I fell in love with him.” Sullivan’s famous motto, “next play” is crucial since he is the first one to volunteer, help his teammates, and point out the good things the team did. “He’s just trying to make everyone better,” Jeros admits. 

Charlie Diegnan, a fellow lineman for the Minutemen and friend of Sullivan, mentioned that Shane has always been enthusiastic, motivated, and charismatic. His personality is one of his best qualities making him not only motivated but also a great soul to be around. “Always been there and ready to help me out,” and “I’ve always looked up to Shane,” said Charlie.

Shane is a very family-oriented person. He gets his inspiration from his brother, Zio, who also plays football for WMMHS. Shane’s grandmother means the world to him and was always wary that he’d get hurt playing football. Despite this, she saw football and his “Heart of a Giant” involvement as a big step in maturity for him. His mother and father, Mrs. and Mr. Sullivan said that “Shane lights up a room, so pleasant, so polite, such a loving individual” and that they are “so proud of him.” 

Commitment, Character, Teamwork, Dedication, Will. All the traits Shane Sullivan shows on a daily basis. Even if he doesn’t win the “Heart of A Giant” award, he will always have one in the eyes of the WMMHS students and faculty.