This teenager lived alone with his mother, and the two of them had
a very special relationship. Even though the son was always on the bench,
his mother was always in the stands cheering. She never missed a game.
This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high school.
But his mother continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that
he did not have to play football if he didn't want to. But the young man loved
football and decided to hang in there.
He was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he'd
get to play when he became a senior. All through high school he never
missed a practice nor a game, but remained a bench warmer all four years.
His faithful mother was always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him.
When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the
football team as a "walk-on." Everyone was sure he could never make the
cut, but he did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because
he always puts his heart and soul into every practice, and at the same time,
provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed.
The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to
the nearest phone and called his mother. His mother shared his excitement
and was sent season tickets for all the college games. This persistent
young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he
never got to play in the game. It was the end of his senior football season, and
as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big playoff game,
the coach met him with a telegram. The young man read the telegram and he
became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, "My mother
died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?"
The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, "Take the
rest of the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday.
Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third
quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly
slipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran
onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their
faithful teammate back so soon. "Coach, please let me play. I've just got
to play today," said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him.
There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close playoff game. But
the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid, the coach gave in.
"All right," he said. "You can go in." Before long, the coach, the players
and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little
unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right. The
opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked and tackled
like a star. His team began to triumph. The score was soon tied. In the
closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way
for the winning touchdown. The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him
onto their shoulders. Such cheering you've never heard! Finally, after the
stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the
coach noticed that the young man was sitting quietly in the corner
all alone. The coach came to him and said, "Kid, I can't believe it. You
were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?" He looked at
the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Well, you knew my mom died, but
did you know that my mom was blind?" The young man swallowed hard and forced
a smile, "Mom came to all my games, but today was the first time she could see me play,
and I wanted to show her I could do it!"