Neat story

I don’t know who else has seen this. Scott’s cousin Tony sent us a news item concerning last week’s Football game between Fenton High School and Brandon High School (in Ortonville). The Email is cut and pasted below. It has the form of a letter to the editor, but I am unsure of the paper it came from (as an aside, if you know, please tell me so I can correctly credit the media source). My dad and I talked about this tonight and he had also heard the story from one of my cousins who attends Brandon High School. Kudos to their football program, their students and fans.
Without further delay, here’s your pick-me-up of the day:

From Fenton High School Football Coach

To anyone that will listen I would like to take a minute of your time. Last night, at the Fenton vs Ortinville Brandon football game I may have witnesses one the greatest moments of all time in my history of watching sports.

With the game all but over with the score 38-14 Fenton leading and having the ball on their own 30 yard line with 1:14 to go, we substituted in Johnathan Fitzgerald to the running back spot to carry the ball. His first run was a loss of 2 yards and his second run was a gain of 1. Johnathan you see suffers from Down Syndrome. He is at every practice, and he is at every game. He works hard and we usually put him in on a kick off team late in a game, or every now and then we put him on the defense at safety where we know that he isn’t really in a lot of danger of being hurt. All week long this week though, he wanted to be a running back and rep at that spot…so we let him. What a huge moment for a kid that was with us all summer long at every camp. With 10 seconds remaining we were content with just letting the clock run out, and satisfied with the effort that our kids had given, when the Ortonville Brandon Coach called time-out. He apparently was talking with our chain gang on the sideline asking what was wrong with number 7? Was he new and didn’t know the plays or what was the story? They informed him that Johnathan has Down Syndrome. He then told the officials “that if that kid has the guts to play, then he deserves to score.” So he instructed his team to make it look like a real play just don’t tackle him. So our boys lined up one more time with 10 seconds remaining and we handed it to Johnathan…he hesitated, made a stutter step through the hole and took off down the sidelines amid a wall of blockers…The Ortonville players made it look absolutely great, as Fitz raced down the sideline (we were praying from the booth he didn’t step out) 68 yards for a touchdown. There he was met by the entire team, cheerleaders, and coaches. After shaking hands with the opposing team, Fitz was hoisted at midfield by his teammates and carried to the endzone.

You here about things like this on ESPN or in the papers every now and again, but to see it in person was probably the greatest moment in my sporting career, as a player, coach, or fan.

I guess more than anything I would like to say that if you know anyone that teaches, coaches, works, or is associated with Ortonville Brandon’s School system, make sure you mention what a class act that their players, coaches and fans are.


Brandon C Chapman


One Response to “Neat story”

  1. purlewe Says:

    excuse my cursing


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