The Times West Virginian

January 24, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: Eger donates his long blond hair to charity

By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — It had been a difficult senior season for Pat Eger, the West Virginia University offensive guard/center, a losing season in which everyone had a hand.

He had changed positions out of necessity, from guard to center, and had to go through the first part of a learning curve when he should have been going through the last part of it.

What’s more, the Mountaineers finished at 4-8 and without a bowl game, a disappointing end for all of WVU’s seniors.

Despite the turmoil and heartbreak that the year brought Eger, he had a post-season surprise for someone by donating his long blond locks to charity.

The story of the donation begins back in September 2010, when Eger and fellow offensive lineman Josh Jenkins were walking around campus after class to get a haircut.

“But then things changed,” Eger said. “We agreed to grow our hair out, and the first person who got their hair cut had to buy the other dinner.

“Josh lost, and he bought me dinner. But then, I just kept growing it out. I loved it. After a while, I thought what better way to cap off my community service and everything I’ve done here in Morgantown than to give back? With this, I’m able to give it to someone who needs it.”

Why wouldn’t Eger like it?

“It was just something that I wanted to do, so I grew it out,” Eger explained. “People knew me by the kid with the long, blond hair.”

Eger donated 10 inches of his strawberry blond hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The charity campaign permits individuals to donate hair for women and children who have lost theirs due to cancer treatment. In order to donate, you must have a minimum of eight inches of hair.

“The organization donates 100 percent of their wigs to children and women with cancer and in need,” Eger said. “I thought Pantene was a good fit for me because it was more straight charity. I just like giving back.”

How refreshing is it, in this day and age of greed, to see an athlete giving rather than receiving.

This is not to say athletes do no work for charity, but the players on the professional level are being paid so much, and all you read about is their discontent, be it with their team, their city, their salary.

But here’s a college kid, just starting out in life, maybe in the NFL, but one can’t really project that off his senior season at WVU.

Eger, however, is a kid who you don’t give up on because of his attitude. If anyone who is borderline can, he can produce an NFL player in the short time left before the draft, just as he made the switch to center.

“It’s in my blood and in my nature. My mom always taught me that sometimes it’s better to give than receive,” said Eger. “That’s how I was raised.”

Eger’s gesture is a nice follow-up to the assistance the West Virginia baseball team gave last year after the tornado outbreak before the Big 12 Conference Tournament, which was the gold standard in the industry.

You have to think of the victims when it comes to helping people. Certainly the idea of cancer striking a child or a woman losing her hair from chemotherapy is a horrible thought.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.