Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement
Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins
Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award
District 65 School Board votes to close Dr. Bessie Rhodes School
Kathryn Hahn declares class of 2024 “worthy of celebration” in commencement address
Pro-Palestinian graduates walk out of 2024 Commencement Ceremony in solidarity with Gaza
‘Wildcats should have wild dreams:’ Nikki Okrah delivers optimistic 2024 Weinberg Convocation address
The Daily Explains: Contextualizing the Evanston reparations lawsuit
Advertisement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

June 13, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

May 30, 2024

Advertisement

Campus Kitchens fills plates and hearts

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Football Feature: Stewart’s scars a reminder of saving father

Even after being engulfed in flames, Sidney Stewart couldn’t tell he was on fire.

On Sept. 28, 2001, an unattended pot on the Stewart house’s stove ignited. Stewart’s mother, Darcel, quickly rushed him and his brother out of the house, seeking safety from the flames. But Stewart’s father, Charles, stayed inside and battled the ever-growing grease fire. While waiting for his father to exit the smoking kitchen, Stewart became anxious.

“I’m like, ‘Dad is in the house, I need to go get him,'” Stewart said.

The 12-year-old Stewart ran toward the kitchen, intent on saving his father’s life. He threw open the door and grabbed his father, who was trying to take the burning pot outside. The fire leapt from the pot onto Stewart’s shirt, encircling him. He finally escaped the room, running toward his neighbor’s house.

That’s when he realized what had happened.

“It was painful, but my adrenaline was rushing so much that I didn’t even know I was burned up until I looked into a mirror,” he said.

Stewart’s brother Charles finally put the fire out, but not before Sidney suffered severe burns to much of his body. The injuries prevented him from playing football for a year-and-a-half. The memory of the incident, however, will last a lifetime.

“There’s a certain aspect of running the whole thing through your head now and again, just thinking about actually what happened,” Stewart said. “It usually comes back when I come home around family events.”

But Stewart hasn’t let his near-death experience keep him from attaining his goals on the football field. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder arrived in Evanston in 2006, the same year fellow receiver Zeke Markshausen walked onto the team. Like Marskhausen, Stewart has emerged as a legitimate option at wideout in 2009. The junior is the Wildcats’ fourth leading receiver, with 28 catches for 279 yards.

“Back in that first year I’d be like ‘Sid, we’re going to be out there together in three or four years,” Markshausen said. “We always joke about that because, you know, it’s happening.”

Coach Pat Fitzgerald said Stewart is becoming one of the Cats’ best receivers, speaking with even more pride when addressing the receiver’s character.

“(Sidney) is one of those special young men in our program who has overcome so much in his life,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s a major part of our football program, not because of what happens on the field but because of him.”

Stewart’s ability to motivate teammates is what makes him stand out from other players, Markshausen said.

“(Stewart) gets us loosened up,” he said. “That’s what he does.”

The 21-year-old isn’t ashamed of what happened eight years ago, acknowledging the impact the incident had on his life, while refusing to feel any sort of self pity. Instead, the experience has drastically affected his attitude.

“It was just a split decision that, in turn and ultimately, affected a lot of the rest of my life,” he said with a shrug.

Now, Stewart carries a token of the fire wherever he goes: A scar from his burns, starting at his left elbow and covering his arm down to his hand. For most, the mark would be something to cover. For Stewart, the scar reminds him of what he has had to overcome.

“A lot of stuff goes through your head, (but) you never think about the consequences,” he said. “Even now, after the consequences, I would do the same thing. That’s just the type of person I am.”[email protected]

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Football Feature: Stewart’s scars a reminder of saving father