The San Jose Sharks welcomed a special guest into their locker room before Tuesday night’s game against against the Florida Panthers. In fact, the Sharks made 17-year-old Sam Tageson an official member of the team by signing him to a one-day contract.
Tageson has a life-threatening heart condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He was born with two heart chambers instead of four and has been playing hockey since age 6, despite doctors urging him not to.
“It’s supposed to be debilitating,” Tageson’s mother Lisa Mills told the San Jose Mercury News. “They said he would be the child that would never ride a bicycle, never do any of that. He rides a skateboard. He plays hockey. The doctors all through the years have said give him golf clubs, take the hockey stick away. We tried. It doesn’t work.”
Mills said doctors changed their approach and have given up on telling Tageson “no,” understand that he will slow down when his body forces him to. Tageson practiced with the Sharks on Tuesday morning and was on the ice to warm up with the team before they took on the Panthers.
“No way to top today,” Tageson told reporters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation event.
Tageson was overcome with emotion after being introduced by the team, and there were probably very few dry eyes in the house. It was an incredible moment and a great gesture from the Sharks to make Sam’s dream come true for a day.
Florida State offensive lineman Mike Scheerhorn will play in the biggest game of his life in less than two weeks, but football is not the only thing on his mind. The freshman is also looking to send a young cancer patient to Pasadena to cheer on the Seminoles.
When Scheerhorn was younger, his brother was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer. He said the diagnosis had a major impact on his family, which was fortunate enough to receive help from the Children’s Cancer Center on a daily basis. Now, Scheerhorn is looking for donations to help send a young girl who is battling cancer to the BCS National Championship Game with her parent.
Now I would like to pay that kindness forward, so I’m sending a child and her parent to the BCS Championship game in Pasadena!
I have two tickets for them from my personal allocation, but I need help getting the family there.
The total cost will be around $5000 including airfares, hotel stay, car rental, etc. and it is my dream that together we can raise that money here so that the Children’s Cancer Center will not have to spend a single penny.
Scheerman has already raised more than $10,000. That means the girl and her parent will be able to head to California for the game, and the extra money will be donated to the Children’s Cancer Center. Anyone who is looking to donate on behalf of the cause can still do so.
There should be more people like Scheerman in the world. Talk about a selfless act.
Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons use to have a great head of man hair. Some would call Parsons, who recently modeled in a commercial for the Buffalo David Bitton clothing line, a pretty boy. Heck, the former Florida star even gels his hair up during games. But on Christmas Eve, Parsons decided there were far more important things in life than his hair.
Parsons shaved his head to support his friend Patrick Hobbs-DeClaire, a 10-year-old who has been battling cancer. Patrick is a twin, and his father said he is more afraid of not looking like his twin brother than he is of the cancer itself.
“His dad was telling me how he isn’t even scared of death,” Parsons said, via the Houston Chronicle. “He is more worried about not looking like his twin brother anymore, so me being his favorite player, I decided to shave my head to look more like him and hopefully give him some support and encouragement from me.”
Parsons did not inform Hobbs-DeClaire that he was going to shave his head, but he told his family to tune into the Rockets Christmas Day game against the San Antonio Spurs. He’s hoping it will be a nice Christmas surprise. Bravo, Chandler.
When the parents of Army Pfc. Matthew Windish joined the Philadelphia Flyers for a special ceremony on Thursday night, they were led to believe that the team would be honoring their son. Little did they know, Matt was in the building.
Matt’s parents Joann and Mark stood with his brother Chris in front of a very large box that the Flyers were presenting to them as a gift. When the wrapping paper came off, they were surprised by a real life GI Joe.
“I was surprised,” Joann said, via DelawareOnline.com. “First I thought he was coming home, but then I didn’t think he was going to. I just thought it was going to be a video, but when they opened up that box and I saw his face … we have missed him so much this past year. It was an awesome surprise.”
Matt was not due home from his tour in Korea until Dec. 20. It was his brother Chris who thought up the idea of a surprise return when he was watching YouTube clips of military homecomings. Chris set everything up so that Matt flew home a week early, and they kept him hidden from his parents for an entire week to keep the surprise intact.
“It was amazing,” Matt said. “My heart started beating so fast I really had no clue what was going on. I went blank for a little bit. This is probably one of the best things in the whole entire world. This is insanely awesome. I just wish that everyone could get to experience this. I feel very grateful right now.”
Military homecomings at sporting events never get old, and we have seen plenty of them. Kudos to the Flyers for keeping the tradition alive.
America was swept up Friday with the awesome story of “Bat Kid,” a 5-year-old boy named Miles who went around the city of San Francisco like Batman to save the city for the day as part of a Make-A-Wish dream.
Miles’ has battled leukemia most of his life, but it is now in remission. San Francisco’s Make-A-Wish chapter worked with the city to grant Miles’ wish of being Batman for the day, and the results were spectacular.
Parts of San Francisco were turned into Gotham City, with the streets lined with hundreds of people calling for Miles’ help. Miles, a huge superhero fan, was dressed in a full Batman costume, and had several tasks throughout the day.
10 a.m.: Miles receives the Police Chief Greg Suhr’s call for help
11:15 a.m.: Batkid apprehends the Riddler
12:30 p.m.: A flashmob in Union Square alerts Batkid that the Penguin has kidnapped Lou Seal
1:10 p.m.: Batkid chases the Penguin around AT&T Park before rescuing Lou Seal
2 p.m.: Miles is awarded the key to the city in a presentation at City Hall
Zach Hodskins has one of the smoothest basketball strokes you will ever see. But it’s not his incredibly accurate shot that has heads turning across the nation. It’s the fact that Hodskins can shoot like that with only one arm.
Earlier this month, the University of Florida and head coach Billy Donovan offered Hodskins a spot on the team as a walk-on. The offer would guarantee him a spot on the bench beginning in 2014 without a full scholarship. Hodskins has yet to decide if we will attend Florida.
“When I’m out [on the court], I forget my arm isn’t there and just play ball,” Hodskins told the News-Herald of Northern Ohio. “Passion and love for the sport helps me overcome all obstacles. To this day I haven’t come across anything I can’t do.”
Hodskins has played high school and AAU ball over the past several years and scouts who have watched him play say he has incredible fundamentals and a “deadly” jump shot. Marcus Gibbs, Hodskins’ AAU coach for the Tennessee Playmakers, said Hodskins is an inspiration both on and off the court.
“He is a role model to any aspiring basketball player that no matter the odds if you work harder than everybody else the sky is the limit,” Gibbs told Prep Rally back in December. “There is nothing that this kid cannot do and if there is he will definitely work to eliminate that problem!”
The University of Alabama-Birmingham and Birmingham Southern have both reportedly been considering offering Hodskins a scholarship. While Hodskins’ story is heartwarming and inspirational, this isn’t a matter of a kid who has faced obstacles being allowed to score by an opponent. He can flat out ball.
A 12-year-old cancer patient who is a die-hard Ohio State fan came up with a unique way to motivate himself to fight the disease he was diagnosed with two years ago. Grant Reed named his brain tumor “Michigan.”
On Friday, Grant beat Michigan by undergoing his final chemotherapy treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
According to NBC 4, Grant’s parents Troy and Denise met when they were both members of the Ohio State University Marching Band in college. Their love for the Buckeyes and hatred for the Wolverines rubbed off on their children, and the rivalry was used to help Grant battle cancer. When asked if he was proud to have beaten Michigan, Grant gave a classic response.
The prices of Boston Bruins tickets have increased rapidly over the past decade, in part because of basic inflation but also because of the recent success of the team. As a result, fans who could attend games during the early part of the century can no longer afford the cost that comes along with venturing to the TD Garden to cheer on their team.
One fan, 77-year-old Marge Bishop fro Gloucester, Mass., has been going to Bruins home games since the 1960s. According to the Boston Globe, Bishop contemplated giving up her seats in 2004 when the price went from $73 per game to $90. However, she received a personal call from Charlie Jacobs, the son of Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, asking her to join the season-ticket advisory board. After the renewal window had closed, Jacobs made sure her tickets were not released to the public. She ended up changing her mind.
But Bishop, who is know by name around the rink because she gives chocolates to the Zamboni drivers between periods, faced the same issue in 2006 — this time on a larger scale. Her seats went from $90 per game to $150 per game, and at that point she knew there was no way she could afford the increase in price. Jacobs saved the day again.
Bishop said Jacobs invited her to a backstage tour of the TD Garden, where her showed her a plastic Patriots VIP pass that he carries around with his name on it.
“He could go to any (Patriots) game he wanted at any time,” Bishop said. “At first I didn’t know why he was showing me it.”
Jacobs then gave Bishop a similar card, but one that was good for all Bruins games.
“It was the most unbelievable gesture,” she said. “People just don’t do things like that. … I’m just a regular person. And I’ve been given this remarkable once-in-a-lifetime gift. It’s incredible. It’s the most remarkable story.”
Since that day, she has never missed a game. Bishop usually brings her husband, but he begins work at his construction job at 5 a.m. and is sometimes too tired to attend. When that happens, she asks anyone from her physician to a random supermarket cashier named Maria to join her at the Garden.
“Her name was Maria,” Bishop said. “She saw I was wearing a Bruins pin and she said, ‘Oh, I love the Bruins!’ So I asked if she wanted to join me.”
And for the record, it was Bishop’s decision to go public with the story so you can’t call it a PR stunt. Bravo, Charlie Jacobs. Maybe there is such a thing as ownership loyalty.
If you are a pet/dog lover, this video will make you melt.
The story of Ricochet the surfing dog was featured on SportsCenter on Sunday night. Ricochet is a female golden retriever born into the “Puppy Prodigies Neo-natal & early-learning program” with the intention of becoming a service dog for a person with a disability. Early in life, she could help pull down zippers on a person’s jacket, pull a laundry basket, and do much more. But at 16 weeks, Ricochet stopped responding to the training and didn’t want to do more. One video says she was dropped from the program because of her instinctual fascination with chasing birds. However, Ricochet and her trainer finally found something she could do well — help people surf.
They began setting up fund raisers where Ricochet helped people surf by standing towards the back or on the sides and balancing the surf board. Her first fundraiser was with a quadriplegic named Patrick Ivison, and she helped raise $10,000 for him.
In the SportsCenter feature video, Ricochet can be seen helping three people with disabilities surf: Ivison, a young boy with brain damage from a fatal car crash, and a boy with autism.
Below you can watch a 2009 video of Ricochet that has amassed over four million views on YouTube:
Kayla Wheeler is proving that no disability should stand in someone’s way.
Wheeler is a 16-year-old swimming phenomenon despite being born without legs and one arm. The junior at Mountlake Terrace (Wash.) High School is a Paralympic world record holder in the 50 meter butterfly and has competed around the world. She even qualified for the 2012 London Paralympic Games, but she did not go because there was not enough competition, KCPQ reports.
“I didn’t get to make the team because there were no female events for my classification, which is an S1. That’s the most disabled you could be and still swim,” Kayla told KCPQ.
Wheeler got started with swimming at an early age after a doctor recommended lessons as a form of therapy. She hasn’t stopped since.
“Just when you think she can`t do any better, she does it again,” her mother, Joyce Wheeler, told KCPQ.
Wheeler is gearing up for a competition at the International Paralympic World Championships in Montreal this August.
In addition to her swimming prowess, Wheeler also excels in school.
According to KCPQ, Wheeler is on her school’s robotics team, takes advanced classes at a local community college, and was named a Scholastic All-American.
Wheeler is no stranger to media coverage. In 2010, KCPQ did a story on the young lady when she was in eighth grade (video below). Wheeler explained in that interview why swimming is so great for her.
“It makes me feel free because I don’t necessarily have all the limitations that I do out of the water,” Wheeler said at the time. “I can do flips in the water. I can do cartwheels in the water. Things that kind of defy gravity.”
The video also showed her participating in bowling, ballet, and baseball. She even was taking ski lessons, and called skiing the “most awesome sport ever, except for swimming.”
Wheeler’s overall attitude is an inspiration to all of us.
“I don’t really try to feel sad about my life kind of thing. I just try to find other ways to make it better than it already is.”