The ALOST Podcast, VII: Here’s to you, America…and The Americas

Four years after almost having his leg amputated due to a gunshot wound and shrapnel riddling his feet, Rocky Bleier helped the Steelers win the first of their four Super Bowls in the 1970s. (Vernon Biever/Getty Images)
Less than six years after having shrapnel riddle his legs and feet – and faced with the prospect of amputation – after an attack while serving in Vietnam, Rocky Bleier helped Pittsburgh win the first of four Super Bowls in the 1970s. (Vernon Biever/Getty Images)

Happy Birthday, United States of America!  Today is a day of not only barbecues and dips in the water poolside or at the beach, but also a day of reflection and remembrance for the people and events over the decades that have helped shape our country and the many things that it stands for.

In our latest episode of The A Lot of Sports Talk Podcast, we were honored to have former Pittsburgh Steeler running back and Vietnam War veteran Rocky Bleier as one of our guests.  Before he starred on four championship teams in the Steel City, Bleier was drafted into the United States Army after his rookie season in 1968 to assist in stunting the efforts of the North Vietnamese in the conflict. After having his feet and legs almost mangled when a grenade exploded in front of him during an enemy attack on August 20, 1969, Bleier’s football-playing career was a good as over – or so it seemed.  Bleier talked with us about what made him so determined to get back onto the football field, as well as his grueling recovery and eventual rise to becoming one of the most beloved Steelers in team history.  He also talked with us about how he made the transition to becoming a successful businessman in his post-war and post-football career, a transition that many pro athletes, as well as veterans, have had trouble with after their time serving in their respective fields.

This weekend is not only a time for America to celebrate, but many countries in The Americas to celebrate as well, as the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw half of the 16 teams advance to the knockout phase of the tournament be made up of countries from The Americas (USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay). Our second interview in our podcast today is with Patricia Leon-Guerrero, the managing director for Latino engagement and partnership at Teach For America, as well as a proud Colombian who has caught World Cup fever. With Colombia being arguably the most impressive team at the World Cup going into today’s quarterfinal round, Leon-Guerrero speaks with us about how the camaraderie with Colombian friends in her hometown of Washington D.C., as well as with the rest of her extended family, has risen even more with the excellent play of the Colombian national soccer team.  Also, she explains her role at Teach For America, and the importance of making quality education accessible and possible in Latino communities across the United States.

Please enjoy the podcast, and leave us any and all comments that you have. Click here to go to the A Lot of Sports Talk podcast page on iTunes, and from there, you can download this show as well as subscribe to our podcast page and receive new episodes on your device the second it is posted. You can also open iTunes, and in the Podcasts section, type in “A Lot of Sports Talk” in the search box to find our shows.

Interview Order: Intro (0:00-2:28); Rocky Bleier (2:30-38:13); Patricia Leon-Guerrero (38:20-1:02:48); Wrap-up (1:02:53:39-1:05:19)

[Cover photo (Colombian soccer team) courtesy of Clive Rose/Getty Images South America]

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