After a grueling workout in the July sun, a young man sits down to enjoy a home cooked dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with an Italian family of friends. The youngest at the table clutches to a picture given to him. It is the picture of a high school football player, signed on the back with his name and number, and a message. “To Ben, you will be great.” Ben admires the picture and loudly exclaims, “When you make it to the NFL this picture will be worth thousands!”
That boy, Ben, is my brother. That picture of the baby-faced high school football player still hangs in his room. And though the picture may not be worth thousands, my brother was correct when he said that that young man would be in the NFL.
Children are always taught growing up that if they put their mind to something and work hard enough, anything is possible. But as most of us get older, we realize that our childhood dreams of playing in the Major Leagues or becoming president may be a little more out of reach than we originally planned. And with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes forget the big dreams we once had. They become lost forever. And with lost dreams come lost hope.
But every once in a while, a person comes along who goes against all odds. A person who shows the rest of us, who can sometimes give up on our dreams so easily, that our parents weren’t lying when they said that hard work pays off; a person who never lost hope on his childhood dream; a person who gave it everything he had anytime he set out to do something; a person who can inspire others to never give up on their dreams; a real story of hard work and dedication; the story of Henry Hynoski.
Henry Hynoski went from a small-town boy from the back roads of an little-known town in rural Pennsylvania to the starting fullback on the Superbowl champion New York Giants football team. His story is one of hard work, success, sadness, and triumph. Most would call his an underdog story. But to the people who know him, he is the product of something he set out to do a long, long time ago.
Henry grew up outside of Elysburg, Pennsylvania, a small town with not much but farms surrounding it. He was never the biggest or fastest guy on the field. But what he did have over most of his competitors was that fire inside him that kept him motivated to work as hard as he can and give all that he had. Tony Scicchitano, a lifelong family friend of Hynoski, put it this way, “Watch him play and you’ll see him run through guys twice the size of him.”
Henry’s father, Henry Sr., was a standout football player who played college ball at Temple University and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1975. So growing up, you could imagine what Henry wanted to do with his life. And so began his dream of playing football just like his old man.
Henry played high school football at Southern Columbia, a small school just up the road from Knoebel’s Amusement Park. In his four years there, he won four state championships and dozens of individual awards. Matt Moroz, a Bloomsburg student who played against Hynoski in high school told me, “Hyno (Hynoski) was dragging our defenders by his ankles. They beat us 56-0 that game, all because of him. I think he had four touchdowns in the first half.”
Sought after by many colleges around the area, he decided to attend Pittsburgh University. He became the starting fullback for the Panthers, and after earning his degree, declared for the NFL draft.
He was expected to be one of the best fullbacks in the draft in 2011. But there were many doubters of Henry. Some would say he was too small to play in the NFL. But what they didn’t see was how big his heart was. He continued to work out and prepare himself the best he could for the NFL Combine, a chance to showcase his talents and abilities to the league.
Finally, all the hard work was paying off. All the time, sweat, and blood he poured into his dream, it seemed it was finally shaping out to become a reality. But then, Henry suffered a hamstring injury in the NFL Combine, which set him back and jeopardized his chance of being drafted into the NFL.
The 2011 NFL Draft came, and Henry was anxious and nervous to see if his dream would come true. But as the rounds went by, and his name was not called, he began losing hope. As the final round was concluding, everyone was sure he would be drafted. But the last pick was made, and Henry Hynoski was not one of the 180 players selected in the draft, and it seemed his dream was over.
But Henry was not ready to give up yet. All his life he was used to people telling him the things he couldn’t do. This only motivated him. And now, after being passed up in the draft, he continued to work harder and do everything he could to get the chance to play.
In the summer of 2011, as the NFL lockout ended, teams were able to open negotiations with signing new players. Henry saw this as his last chance to make his dream a reality. The offers began coming, and finally, he signed a contract with the New York Giants. After all his hard work; all the time spent in the weight room and film room, all the time spent rehabbing injuries, his dream came true.
Henry worked his way into the starting lineup in the 2011 season. As the Giants made a playoff push to the Superbowl, he became a key part of their success. Then, one year after he went from having his dream shattered after not being selected in the draft, he became a Superbowl champion as New York defeated New England.
Henry is proof that if we set our minds to something, we really can achieve it with hard work. He went from a backyard bruiser playing small-town football with his friends to being a Superbowl champion. He never doubted himself, never hung his head, and never said never. What do you know dad was right; hard work truly does pay off
Hynoski signs memorabilia to help childhood friends
Superbowl Champion Henry Hynoski of the New York Giants recently autographed memorabilia to be raffled off at a benefit for the Delaware Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation.
The organization has served local families with bleeding disorders for more than 50 years. It raises funds for research, patient services and support, education, advocacy and special events.
The items signed by Hynoski include t-shirts, hats, books and other New York Giants collectables.
Hynoski supports the cause because of his relationship with the Scicchitano family. The family has three sons who all have hemophilia, a bleeding disorder that causes painful swelling and bruising in the muscles and joints.
A longtime friend of the family, Hynoski spent time playing organized basketball with Jake Scicchitano and working out with his grandfather Tony Scicchitano.
All proceeds will benefit the Delaware Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation.