Hamilton, Gesicki both have overcome adversity

DaeSean Hamilton showed a lot of character following last year’s loss at Pitt simply by coming out and talking to the media. As he sat in his chair and answered very difficult questions about “the drop,” Hamilton started to cry.

“I’ll never forget about it,” Hamilton said of the dropped pass that cost PSU a chance to win and, ultimately, a berth in the College Football Playoff.

We’ll all remember that Hamilton dropped the ball because it was such a big play. But what I’ll remember most is how the young man owned it. How he said it would motivate him. How he would learn from it.

And he did.

Hamilton bounced back from that low point by staying positive, continuing to work hard and vowing not to let it define his Penn State career.

He’s gone on to become the program’s leader in career receptions, plus he’s one of the most respected members of the team.

Sports is not just about winning. In fact, I despise the old saying “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” What a bunch of garbage.

Sometimes in sports, just like in life, you’re going to lose. You might even be largely responsible for the loss because of a bad play you made.

How you respond to it is what matters. The lessons you learn. Your ability to grow from the adversity and still be able to make a positive impact.

DaeSean Hamilton did all of that, and that’s what I’ll remember him for.

One of Hamilton’s closest friends on the team, it turns out, is tight end Mike Gesicki. They have an interesting friendship bond that Gesicki joked about, which is ironic because the two also share an undeniable connection in one aspect of how their careers have played out.

Gesicki dropped several passes in 2015 and was heavily criticized for it. He came back the next year and had to answer question after question about it, which had to be very frustrating.

But Gesicki handled it all extremely well. He owned up to his issues, never shied away from talking about how the drops and criticism motivated him, then went out last season and had the breakthrough year many predicted for him.

Gesicki now holds PSU tight end career records for receptions and yards, and he’ll be make a lot of money in the NFL because of his pass-catching ability (even if he does need work on blocking).

It’s easy to cheer for players when things are going well, but to see guys like Hamilton and Gesicki overcome their tumultuous times and become standouts and leaders is one of the most rewarding aspects of sports.

These two guys are going to be sorely missed next season.

Cory Giger can be reached at cgiger@altoonamirror.com