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T his teenager lived alone with hisfather, and the two of them had aver y special r elationship. Eventhough the son was always on thebench, his father was always in thestands cheering. He never missed agame.
T his young man wasstill the smallest of theclass w hen he enteredhigh school.But his father continuedto encour age him butalso made it ver y clearthat he did not have toplay football if he didntwant to.But the young man loved football anddecided to hang in there. He wasdetermined to try his best at everypractice, and perhaps hed get to playwhen he became a senior. All through highschool he never missed a practice nor agame, but remained a bench warmer allfour years. His faithful father was alwaysin the stands, always with words ofencouragement for him.
When the young man went tocollege, he decided to try out forthe football team as a "walk-on".Everyone was sure he could nevermake the cut, but he did.T he coach admittedthat he kept him onthe roster becausehe always put hishear t and soul intoever y practice and,at the same time,provided the othermember s with thespirit and hustlethey badly needed.
T he news that he hadsur vived the cut thrilledhim so much that her ushed to the near estphone and called hisfather. His father shar edhis excitement. T he youngathlete never missedpr actice during his fouryear s at colle ge but henever got to play in any ofthe games. It was the endof his senior footballseason, and as he trottedonto the pr actice fieldsshor tl y before the big playof f game, the coach methim with a tele g ram.
T he young manr ead the tele g r amand becamedeathl y silent.Swallowing har d,he mumbled to thecoach, "My fatherdied this mor ning.Is it all right if Imiss pr acticetoday?"The coach put his arm gentlyaround his shoulder and said,"Take the rest of the week off,son. And dont even plan tocome to the game on Saturday.
Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third quarter, the teenager came and walked into the empty locker room andAs he ran onto the put on hissidelines, the coachand his player s werefootball gear.astounded to see theirfaithful teammate backso soon. "Coach,please let me play. Ivejust got to play today,"said the young man.
The coach pretended not to hearhim. There was no way he wantedhis worst player in this closeplayoff game. But the young manpersisted, and finally feelingsorry for the kid, the coach gavein. "ALL RIGHT," he said. Andeveryone in the stands could notbelieve their eyes.
This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him, He ran, blocked and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph.T he score was soontied. In the closingseconds of thegame, the kidinter cepted a passand ran all the wayfor the winningtouchdown.
The fans broke loose.Histeammateshoisted himonto theirshoulders.Such cheeringyouve neverheard.
Finally, after the standshad emptied and the teamhad showered and left thelocker room, the coachnoticed that the youngman was sitting quietly inthe corner all alone. came The coach to him and said, "Kid, I cant believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?"
He looked at the coach, with tears in hiseyes, and said. "Well, you knew my daddied, but did you know that MY DADWAS BLIND ?"The young manswallowed hard andforced a smile, "Dadcame to all my games,but today was thefirst time he couldsee me play, and Iwanted to show him Icould do it!"