By Sgt. Nathan Akridge, AFN LivornoFebruary 14, 2008
LIVORNO, Italy - As Americans across the globe watched the Giants upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, one Camp Darby resident had a personal reason to be happy.
Gene Strahan, an employee at the Auto Skills shop, spent the evening cheering on his little brother, Michael Strahan, a defensive end for the New York Giants.
Once a skeptic, Gene says he stopped teasing his little brother about his desire to play professional football years ago.
"When Michael was playing football with Youth Services at Fort Bragg, (N.C.), my dad knew he had talent," said Gene. "But, when he told us that he was going to play pro ball, my brothers Victor, Chris and I busted out laughing."
Gene said his family was naturally athletic. His mother had played basketball and his father was on the All Army Boxing team and fought Ken Norton when he was on the All Marine Boxing team. And he has an uncle, Art Strahan, who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Atlantic Falcons
"All of us kids played sports," said Gene. "Size came naturally to us. When Michael made it to the pros, I reminded him that he told us from day one he was going to play. Look at him now in the Super Bowl! I take my hat off and salute him."
While watching the game at the Darby Community Club, Gene said there were only a few Giants fans, but even the Cowboy fans who were there were cheering on the Giants over the Patriots.
"There was one Patriots fan, a gal, who came up and gave me a hug and said congratulations at the end," laughed Gene. "The men were in shock."
When asked how he felt about his brother's success, Gene replied, "If you have a dream, you have to follow it."
"Stay in school, get your education and don't let someone tell you what you can't do," Gene said. "Even through we laughed at Michael at young age...look at him now."
"I'm so proud of you man, you did it," Gene said to the TV.