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Sometimes, it’s about more than just sports

Sports bring many emotions to fans, athletes and coaches.

Some of the greatest moments involve special tributes to people who have overcome illness or pro- cedures.

These are my favorite moments in sports and give organizations great respect when they do these acts of kindness. Recently, we have seen some of these special moments at Bradley and at the professional level.

The Bradley men’s basketball team signed Johnah and Jarret Sahr on Sept. 6, 2013. Johnah has under- gone surgery and two years of treatment for Stage Four High Risk Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that occurs in children that are two years or younger. Chemotherapy and radi- ation are used to treat and kill of Neuroblastoma cells.

The Sahr brothers signed their National Letters of Intent to Bradley and have become part of the team. Prior to sign- ing their letters, the Sahrs got a tour of the Renaissance Coliseum facilities from basketball players Jordan Swopshire, Jordan Prosser, Anthony Fields and Mason Alwan. These players are mentors to the Sahr brothers. The brothers also got customized jerseys as a part of the team.

The Philadelphia 76ers signed a teenager with Down syndrome to a two-day contract. Kevin Grow was from Bensalem High School and worked as the manager of the varsity basketball team until the last two games. Grow scored 14 points, including hitting three three-pointers and a buzzer beater.

He will participate in pre-game warm-ups, get his own custom- ized jersey and the Sixers will honor him.

One way these situations arise is through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. ESPN airs a weeklong series called “My Wish” that tells the story of several people who have overcome an illness, disabil- ity or injury and were granted a sports-related wish. ESPN has aired their “My Wish” series since 2008, and has featured stories with athletes such as LeBron James, Russell Wilson, Rory McIlroy and Shaquille O’Neal.

I have my own experience through the Make-A-Wish founda- tion. I was granted a wish based on surviving a Cerebral Hemorrhage, AVM and aneurysm.

Growing up, I idolized Curt Schilling and my wish was to meet him. The Make-A-Wish founda- tion made my dream come true when I got to meet Schilling and the Red Sox in 2005.

As a part of my experience, I got to watch batting practice from the Red Sox dugout, tour the locker room and meet the players and coaches of the 2005 team.

Since my wish was in September, I got the privilege of meeting Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Terry Francona and other players and coaches. This opportunity will always be a memory that sticks with me.

A lot of sports organizations have a good working relationship with similar organizations to make dreams like this come true. It’s heartwarming to see these teams and organizations put people on cloud nine.

I tip my cap to these athletes and sports teams that realize there is more to sports than their actions on the field.

Aaron Ferguson is a sophomore sports communication major from Strongsville, Ohio. 

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