A former Whitestone resident and current New York Giants executive who began his career as a ball boy for the team went to the White House last week at the invitation of President George W. Bush in celebration of their Super Bowl victory in February.
Jon Berger, the Giants senior director for football information, traveled with the team April 30 to Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., where he received an all-access pass to the historic mansion Bush calls home complete with a presidential welcome.
Bush invited the team to Washington to celebrate their heroic come-from-behind win against the then-undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in February.
"It was a blast for him," said Alex Berger, Jon Berger's father and a TimesLedger columnist. "Bush had jokes about the Patriots losing and all that. It was a pleasant, pleasant day for him."
In a speech before the Giants players and staff, Bush cracked jokes about the team's victory over his home state Dallas Cowboys and called their against-the-odds victory a great achievement in pro sports.
"The New York Giants have one of the great storied histories in pro football. And this club carried on that great tradition," Bush said during a speech on the White House's south lawn. "And perhaps many would say this is probably the most exciting chapter ever written in the New York Giants' football history. After all, you started off the season and allowed 80 points in the first two games. That would be called a lousy start."
Alex Berger said his son has been in the Giants organization since high school, when he worked as a ball boy for the team during training camp. Alex Berger, who said he has only missed one Giants home game since 1958, said he always knew his son would be a success with the team.
"I didn't have to help Jon. He's a very talented, brilliant guy," he said. "I'm very proud of him."
Alex Berger said his son was allowed to roam freely through the White House's rooms, taking his own personal tours at their own leisure.
"That building is so historic, you know," Alex Berger said. "The good part is all the players scattered and got to go to all the rooms on their own. It was a great sight. He'll remember it always."
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@
©2008 Community News Group
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