For those of you who aren’t football fans … don’t tune out. This is not a football story. Instead, you’re about to hear a true tale of compassion, integrity, class, teamwork and leadership!
Visualize, if you will, a typical Friday night high school football game. This one happens to be a contest between the Maryville Spoofhounds (don’t even ask!) and the St. Joseph Benton Cardinals … two rival schools about 42 miles apart situated near the Missouri/Kansas border. It really wasn’t much of a game as Maryville was leading 46-0 as the clock wound down to the final play of the game. It looked like an obvious shut out for the Spoofhounds! Those who may have left early due to the lopsided score may have missed the play of the century!
Two high school football coaches + 21 football players + supportive fans joined forces to produce what must be classified as the CLASS ACT of the season! With time for only one more play left on the clock, Cardinals coach Dan McCamey called a time out and ran out on the gridiron to talk to the Spoofhounds and their coach at midfield. He quickly explained that he had a 15-year-old freshman running back with Down Syndrome who had spent the entire season on the bench. Every Friday night he had begged the coach to get into a game.
The two teams lined up for the last play of the game after the coach allowed young Matt Ziesel to join the team on the field. Matt miraculously broke free of a tackler and ran 60 yards for the touchdown that put his Cardinals on the scoreboard. Matt was in seventh heaven as was his family, fans, and teammates. In fact, so was the other team as everyone but Matt knew that the Spoofhounds had allowed him to score.
Here’s another prime example of a good news story that very few people ever heard about. We need stories like this now more than ever before. Those involved on that special Friday night treasured that last play of the game and will never forget it. Years from now, each of those involved will look back with pride and cherish the memory of that special touchdown run by Matt Ziesel!
None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for the leadership demonstrated by those two coaches and the teamwork displayed by the other 21 players on the field as Matt ran his heart out. I think some future leaders walked off that field that night feeling a little better about themselves and the world in general.
The Cardinals lost the battle that night … 46-6. But they won the war! In fact, both teams did!
See the clip of that special touchdown run by clicking on this link … and please feel free to pass this very special story on to others as well!