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I Could do it
lived alone with his father, and the two of them had a very
special relationship. Even though the son was always on the
bench, his father was always in the stands cheering.
He never missed a game. This young man was still the smallest of
the class when he entered high school, but his father
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 father 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
father. His father 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 as the end of his senior
football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field
shortly before the big play off game, the coach met him with a
telegram. The young man read the telegram and became
deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the
coach, "My father 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 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, the
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 dad died, but did
you know that my dad was blind?" The young man
swallowed hard and forced a smile, "Dad came to all my
games, but today was the first time he could see me play,
and I wanted to show him I could do it!"
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