On Monday, football fans and community members packed into the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, eager to see the city’s newest superstar.
Micah Parsons has had quite the week. On Thursday, he was drafted into the NFL as a first-round pick for the Dallas Cowboys. Today, Mayor Eric Papenfuse handed him the key to Harrisburg, the city he calls home.
“He embodies the work ethic and the success that is possible for all of us,” Papenfuse said. “He’s so inspiring.”
Parsons, 21, grew up in Uptown Harrisburg, attended Harrisburg High School and went on to play football for Penn State University as a linebacker. Parsons graduated early and now looks forward to a future with the NFL team he had hoped to play for.
But on Monday, with family, friends and plenty of fans, he took a moment to celebrate in the community where it all started.
“It really means a lot to get the key to the city,” Parsons said. “Harrisburg really means a lot to me.”
Yvette Wright stood in the crowd with her 13-year-old son. He wore a Cowboys face mask and shirt. Wright told me how he had been playing football since he was little.
“My son looks up to Micah Parsons because we’ve both come from the same city and the same school district,” she said. “This is something positive for him and other young athletes to look up to.”
After the presentation, dozens of kids and families lined up to meet Parsons and get an autograph. Parsons said that he was once in their shoes, looking up to professional sports players.
“There’s really no difference between me and you,” he said. “We wake up the same, we get the same 24 hours […] It’s about what you do in your 24 hours.”
Parsons encouraged his young fans to continue working hard and said that he plans to help the youth however he can. Parsons himself has a 3-year-old son.
“One of the things that impresses me about Micah is he’s already thinking about how he can give back to this community,” Papenfuse said.
Support quality local journalism. Become a Friend of TheBurg!