I have been a deeply committed member of the Hoggard Varsity football team for the past four years. Football is and has been a huge part of my life, but the incredible privilege I have had of getting to know and spend time with Beau and his friends has transformed the things I have learned in football and life into deeper meaning, joy and perspective.
Beau was born with Down syndrome. His parents live daily with the hope and dream that Beau will be able to experience life to the fullest by being included and respected by his peers but mostly respected by a world that views people with mental and physical differences in a way that is less than positive. Beau and I attend the same church but I had never made the time to know Beau personally, however his stature, heart and genuine kindness have impacted my life in a huge way this fall.
For Beau, life is simple. Life is about living every moment to the fullest, not worried about tomorrow or even about the next hour. Our football team was invited to participate as leaders in the Pop Warner Challenger league for kids with special needs. Beau and I hit it off from the beginning at our first practice. He wanted to fully experience football. To run and hike the ball, kick a field goal, tackle and be tackled. So together, with my teammates we have let go of our egos, thrown out the rules and just spent time building relationships and loving the game. After late Friday night football games, the reward for getting up early each Saturday morning is the smiles we see on the kids’ faces and the laughter heard throughout the field. Dr. Seuss said it best, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Beau has taught me that life is not about being perfect but it is about enjoying every minute and caring deeply about those around me. We are constantly being transformed by the people and situations we call life. Beau and his friends have transformed my life and the lives of my teammates and have reminded us that relationships truly make a difference in this world. I hope I live daily with the perspective of my friend, Beau, that life is good.