Spreading Unity and Kindness in NWA

Sometimes, with all the discord in the world today, it’s easy to forget the good things that are going on around us. I was moved to tears while I read this blog post about the spread of unity and kindness in our area. When you find yourself feeling down about the negativity in the world, seek out the positive that’s being overshadowed. Please take a few moments to read the following blog post.

***THE FOLLOWING IS A COPY AND PASTE OF A BLOG POST FROM THE SPRINGDALE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WEBSITE***
 

Touchdown Angel

Posted October 9, 2017 by AMANDA THATTANAKHAM

This journey began in August when as all coaches know football is in the air.  The smell of freshly mowed grass, the wet shoes from the dew on the ground, the temperature changing from early morning to mid-afternoon, the yawning players going through county fair drills while trying to get in shape, the first chance for a coach to challenge the players and set expectations for them as a team as well as challenge them to become young gentlemen.  I was approached about a young man who loves football and wanted to be a part of the team in whatever way possible. The support he has from his teachers and parents is amazing.  We were made aware of his situation and told all about him.  However, we had so much more to learn about Touchdown Angel.
 

Let me begin by attempting to describe Touchdown Angel. He wears his pads and his Rams jersey every day to school in the halls.  Although Angel is non-verbal there is not a day that goes by where he is not at the locker room door high fiving every player as they come in to get ready for practice.  He may not say much with his words but he displays passion, drive, love for his teammates, and love for the game we only wish every player had in their DNA. There is no doubt who the heartbeat of our team is.  We run a practice much like any typical football team.  There are offensive days, defensive days, cuts, bruises, blood, sweat, tears, fumbles, blown plays, and extraordinary plays.  One thing that may be a bit different here at Sonora is that no matter what type of practice we have or the differences going on within our world, we end practice with Touchdown Angel doing what he does best, scoring a touchdown.  If just for a moment we forget about all the outside distractions or how tired and sore we are to cheer on our biggest fan, Mr. Touchdown Angel.  

Angel has brought out the best in us without saying a word. At first we were a bit apprehensive about how he would be treated.  But I have never been more proud of a group of young men in my life. Immediately they embraced Angel as their teammate. I have witness a group of young teenage boys treat him as family.  I have witnessed them chant his name getting on the bus for a game, call it up as family around Angel after his infamous touchdown to end practice, lead him to the end zone as he leads our team onto the field on game nights.  

As a coach, we try to teach kids work ethic, dedication, commitment, honesty, integrity, how to be young gentlemen, and grit.  We try to make sure they open doors for others and say uncommon phrases such as yes sir and yes mam.  We do our best to teach them the game of life as well as the game of football.  Sometimes, the teacher can be taught as well.  You see, Touchdown Angel has been the one teaching us.  He has taught our young men lessons that only experience will provide.  In turn, our Spartans have hopefully been teaching our student body and our community that despite any differences we may have or the final score on the board, we can all come together in support of each other and treat everyone as equals.  On a daily basis, we are privileged to see the true beauty in life.  When kids are kids and throw a football on the sidelines and befriend another student who they may not have ever met without football.  We see unity within a diverse culture.  We see how ability does not matter or separate us but it brings us closer together.  These young men and Mr. Touchdown Angel are a blessing.  The best part about being a coach is watching the progress of players and a team from day 1 to the end of the year.  You get to then watch as they grow and see where their life takes them and the positive impacts they will have.  We are fortunate to get Mr. Touchdown Angel back for another year, and something tells me he will be on the sidelines of Springdale football fields for a long time.