Steve Porteous: A few words by Kenny Hudson.
I have the privilege to speak for a couple of minutes about one of my best friends. This year started very badly with the passing of a legend and it is only fitting that it ends with his induction to the Rebels Hall of Fame.
Thanks to Twerg and Paraic for helping me gather some of the memories.
Steve Porteous (his stage name) as everyone in Ireland knew him commanded respect whether you were a teammate or an opponent. Having Steve in the middle of the line provided a really solid base for the defense and there are a lot of O-Linemen out there who must have hated playing against him including our own in training, I know we always looked forward to the games to give our bodies a rest. He had amazing speed over short distances for such a big man, immensely strong and when he hit you, you stayed hit! Playing behind him made me look good because all I had to do was step over the bodies strewn left and right. Apart from his presence on the pitch, the thing we all remember about Steve was he was always smiling. Even if he was annoyed and grumpy, he’d still flash that big smile and he always lifted the players around him. His attitude really rubbed off on others and we were better players and happier people because of him. He’s also probably the only 20 stone man to be called “Little Steve” which happened after Steve Wilson joined.
Brian Dennehy and Paraic Reddington were having a beer at the Racecourse Inn Baldoyle and they saw this man mountain sitting at the bar. Quote “He had a neck like a pack of hotdogs and we were sure he would make a good football player”. The world’s most underrated statement by Paraic. We were eventually introduced and he came down to play for the Dublin Tigers.. He would then play with the Rebels. He won a shamrock bowl with the Tigers in 1999, then all the Rebels ones from 2001 until he retired. He also went to Charleroi with just 9 of us and 3 of the most respected Dragons. Most importantly, he scored a (in his own words) 90 yard TD fumble recovery which he’s immensely proud of (in reality, it was a 3 yard return and he had to be carried the last 2 yards, but let’s give the man his glory!).
Off the pitch he was the funniest man I have ever met. He spent a weekend in a caravan in Wexford once. He brought a big TV with him so he could watch movies there. Anyway, the TV was too big for the caravan doorway so Steve had to pass it in the large back window of the caravan. The sight of a huge black man passing a TV IN a window must have been a real puzzle for the locals.Paraic and a couple of others went skiing with Steve in Arinsal in Andorra and it quickly became apparent that Steve was not made for the snow. He couldn’t get the concept of gravity and how it would affect him. On the very first day and the very first lesson he stepped into his skis while pointing up the mountain. He promptly started sliding backways down the mountain. He had no idea how to stop so he bent forward and grabbed his feet – thereby travelling down the mountain with his arse in the air at an ever increasing speed. He wiped out a class of beginner kids who have no doubt been in counselling ever since. He gave up skiing at that moment and that evening we came down from a day on the slopes to find him in the local bar, topless, having just won a “Dance like your Dad” competition.
On the pitch the laughter never stopped either, and when he tormented opposing players telling them which gap he was coming through and then watching QBs frantically calling changes to the play to try and get away from him, all we could do was laugh pick them up off the ground and guide them back to their own huddle, it was enough to put them right off their game. Steve loved the game and could not leave it, he became a coach and then would sneak his gear with him (totally against doctors orders)
When I was to coach with Steve at Trinity I was made up, I was on a coaching course as he took charge of the team, That was the last time I spoke with him as he went home that evening full of the joys of the world, He was back in football. Steve will be remembered as one of the true forces in the American Football family and everyone has a storey to tell about how he affected the lives of all he came in contact with, literally and otherwise. He had the ability to make you feel like the most important person in the world and he was and still is loved by everyone who has ever met him. I promised him that we would sit back on our deck chairs overlooking our boys (who are the same age) playing ball while we have a beer. I know he is preparing the decking, chilling the beer and getting someone ELSE to mark the pitch, and when the time is right we are all invited to join in and play ball with my friend my brother my captain.