On June 3, I will be representing my father, Walter Payton, at a Pro Football Hall of Fame dinner at The Glen Club in Glenview. I will be surrounded by 17 Hall of Famers, all of whom will be in town to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Illinois and to promote the positive values of sports — values that were once instilled in me by my dad. When I was growing up, he constantly stressed the importance of hard work, studying the game and practicing until perfection. These values have helped me immeasurably throughout my life — and to do something at age 12 that no child had done before me.
Twenty years ago this August, I inducted my father into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. My dad told me what I was doing 2 ½ months before we were to go to Canton, Ohio, for the ceremony. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what he was asking.