January 28, 2016
It didn’t take children long to grasp the benevolent generosity of a smiling and enthusiastic sports icon, and they eagerly position themselves in front of the cold steel railing of the stadium watching and waiting.
Normally, holding a child’s attention would prove problematic even during a high intensity sporting event. However, even the fidgetiest child’s focus returns to the field as the crowd erupts in an enthralled roar after the home team scores. Children hold their breath while thoughts of “Will he pick me? Please, please pick me. Pick me!” run through their pleading mind. Pins and needles tickle tiny toes as adrenaline courses through their small bodies as the anticipation builds.
For some, the touchdown was on the opposite end of the field. This realization quickly deflates their excitement as they exhale, exasperated. For others, the exhilaration of possibly being chosen quickens their heartbeat, as the object of their attention is paraded around the end zone in the massive hand of the starting quarterback. The one they call Superman.
Still unable to breathe, one youngster’s eyes are riveted on the football...disbelieving. “He’s coming this way!” murmured under their breath in more of an appeal than a confirmation.
The joyful result of Cam Newton’s decision
Suddenly, the touchdown scoring football is thrust into their grateful embrace. Gasping for air after what seemed like an eternity the child’s eyes dance with delight as a huge smile spreads across their small face. “It’s mine! It’s mine! He gave it to me!” the elated child exclaims, jumping up and down holding tight to the football.
Living vicariously through their child the parents are hollering, laughing and smiling all at the same time as congratulatory pats on the back come from the surrounding crowd, excited by the points gained and witnessing the selfless generosity of a team setting a new precedent in a game dating back to 1869. More rugby than football at first, however, by the 1880s rules were developed transforming the game into what we now enjoy as American football.
Thus, starting this altruistic tradition over a hundred years later quickly became a crowd pleaser as Carolina Panther fans realized their team was including them in points earned through teamwork and dedication to playing their best by offering a souvenir football. A humbling gesture indeed since most players in the past kept the scoring football. Yet, fans cheer fervently as scoring footballs are cordially handed over during every game, appreciating they are more than onlookers now; they are part of the game. Even head coach Ron Rivera supports the team’s efforts to involve fans personally in the game by sharing an unpretentious football which unquestionably becomes a treasured memento of a forever memory.
At first though, the starting quarterback’s, Cam Newton, over the top personality wasn’t winning any points from the media and criticized by still others. Seeing it only as an attention getter they often frowned upon his broad and confident smile, celebratory dancing, and willingness to take one for the team by running the football himself. Not too many in his position take the same approach. Yet, this humble human being has a deeply philanthropic side. Therefore, why not include the fans in the game by offering a scoring football? Why not run around the field inviting fans to cheer louder? Why not smile and dance when the team intercepts a ball, scores points, or wins the game? Why not a happy and grateful personality? Why not live life in the front row having fun doing what you love to do? And why not...offer a football in exchange for a smile from a young fan waiting to exhale?
Can you imagine...being that small child with outstretched arms?
You have a winning smile, keep smiling!