This afternoon, I attended the most memorable football game of my life.
The Haines Middle School and Batavia Rotolo 8th Grade football teams
played in the first round of the annual 8th Grade football tournament
held at Reid Field in St. Charles. One of the members of the Haines
team is named Jack. Jack must use a motorized chair for mobility, and
has not missed a game moving up and down the sidelines in support of his
team (rain or shine).
As the game drew to a close (the outcome of the game is
inconsequential), Batavia from its own 5 yard line called timeout and
coaches from both Haines and Batavia jogged to the middle of the field.
After a few minutes of discussion, both coaches returned to their teams
and the players got set to run a 4th down play. Batavia, on offense,
snapped the ball and the quarterback oddly took a knee rather than
running a play, giving Haines the ball on Batavia's 5 yard line with
only a few seconds on the clock. The Haines offense took the field, but
this time it was different -- Jack was with them in his motorized chair.
The players got set, snapped the ball, and handed it off to Jack.
Jack crossed the goal line, followed shortly thereafter by a swarm of
Haines (and Batavia) players and coaches celebrating his touchdown!!
A person might think this was just about giving Jack an opportunity he
normally wouldn't get. However, it was really just the Haines coaches
and team (with the help of Batavia) saying thank you to a young man that
has provided inspiration and support as a teammate all throughout middle
school. Contributions to a team can come in a variety of forms and
truly transcend the importance of the game itself. Jack has certainly
made more than his share of contributions.....