A standout football figure made history come to life Sunday for two Oneonta elementary school boys.
Mark May, a 1977 Oneonta High School graduate who played 13 years in the National Football League, stopped by the Greater Oneonta Historical Society to meet Dayne Bissell-Smith and Matthew Shultz. The boys, 10, separately had chosen May as the topic of a fourth-grade history research project.
“I definitely appreciate it,” May told the young biographers.
May was among about a dozen Oneonta figures chosen by local pupils to study in the ninth annual Sally Mullen Local History project, which is sponsored by the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. This year’s focus was “Famous Oneonta People.” Sherman Fairchild and Griffin Brooks were among others selected.
May played 10 years with the Washington Redskins, and he appeared in three Super Bowls. He was an award-winning athlete in high school and a Collegiate Football All-American at the University of Pittsburgh.
May is in Oneonta to participate in the Hospice Celebrity Invitational at Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown today and attend the Chicago concert in Oneonta tonight. The events are fundraisers for the Catskill Area Hospice. May said his visit also would include visiting the graves of his parents and ordering food from Brooks House of Bar-B-Q.
Matthew gave up his final traveling soccer team game Sunday to meet May — after checking with the coach that positions would be covered, said his father, Terry Shultz of West Oneonta.
May is a “great role model,” Shultz said, and meeting him was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It’s fantastic he took the time” to meet the boys, Shultz said.
“It was exciting,” Matthew said. “It’s pretty amazing that he came out of Oneonta.”
May said he heard about the students’ projects through a story in The Daily Star in June. On Sunday, he had an opportunity to see the projects and thank the boys.