In this age of being so connected, it so often seems that we are inundated with nothing but bad news. This carries through into the world of college sports, with so much talk about cheating, drinking, drugs, and other selfish/destructive behavior. So much so that I would like to point out some examples of the positive.
Like this past summer in St. Joseph, Missouri, where two members of the Missouri Western football team spotted a woman frantically trying to get into her car. It was August and exceptionally hot, so the behavior struck these two young men as odd, and they went to investigate. Turns out, the woman had accidentally locked her keys in her car along with her toddler grandson. All her efforts to break into the car were not effective and the baby was beginning to get sick and losing consciousness. Defensive back Shane Simpson took one swing at the window and that was all she wrote – little Liam was out of the car and back into his granny’s arms. Completely unscathed other than some minor dehydration.
Check out this tear-jerker. At Middlebury College in Vermont, there is a tradition called “Picking Up Butch”. The story originated in 1960, when a student named Ralph helped a grandmother with her grandson Butch’s wheelchair after a game on a snowy day. The tradition has carried on with various student athletes assisting Butch to this day. During football season, the basketball players pick Butch up for games and during basketball season, the football players take over. Butch suffers from cerebral palsy, and in 2003, was able to earn his GED with the help of, you guessed it, a Middlebury student athlete named Sara.
And in Michigan, MSU has begun what I hope will become a tradition forever. Ticket holders can donate their tickets to an exchange so that the children nominated have an opportunity to see the Spartans in action. I love this idea, because college football can be pretty cost prohibitive anyway, especially given the current economic situation of this country. Michigan has been even more hard hit than the bulk of the US, so the idea of affording children an opportunity to witness the awesomeness of a football game is fantastic!
Last but not least, let’s not forget Eric LeGrand. Eric suffered a horrific spinal cord injury last season while on defense for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Originally told he was paralyzed from the neck down, Eric has been making steady improvement over the last year and now is able to stand for about 40 minutes at a time. Currently an analyst for the Rutgers radio network, Eric led the Knights onto the field last week via motorized wheelchair. Not only have the Rutgers faithful rallied around Eric, he is motivating others to keep believing that odds are there to be overcome and that faith can move mountains. I wish Eric all the best in his rehabilitation and recovery.
I’m glad to read about these people, and I’d love to know more of these stories. In today’s depressing times, I need all the inspiration I can get. If anyone reading has something similar they’d like to share, I would love to hear about it…and as always, have a happy and safe Gameday!