I wonder how many football players in tonight’s Alabama/Clemson National Championship Football Game would be content winning and then never playing football again?
If that happened would they feel cheated? Robbed? Unfulfilled? Lost and wondering what their life is supposed to be like now that the one defining aspect of their existence is gone? Would they be depressed? They’d reached the pinnacle of their sport and now someone sits them down in the locker room and says, “Great game…you won…now leave your pads and never come back and never pick up a football again.” How does a champion handle banishment?
I know how Max will handle it. You won’t see him on tonight’s broadcast. There won’t be anyone at the game holding a sign with his name and number on it. But, tonight he is a champion.
Max is my five year old nephew and yesterday, after three years, he was told he’d won his race. For the last three years his life revolved around the race. A race he ran with determination, guts and grit. He ran it with anger, sadness and lots of laughs. Depending on the day is how he ran…but he always ran. He never stopped because he knew the key to victory was to keep moving forward. And yesterday, in the quiet of his kitchen, with his Mom and Dad standing next to him, he took his last dose of chemo medicine. After three years of non-stop attention to medicine, food intake, schedules, doctors and side effects Max had finished his race. It was a race against one competitor…cancer…and five year old Max won. He’s a champion and unlike the football players who I’m sure would be depressed and angry if they were told they could never play again, Max can happily and confidently turn his back on his race and proclaim, “I’m victorious. I’ve won and I’m done.”
Max is a champion. He never has to defend his title. He never has to go back out onto the field to prove to the world he’s the best, because he now carries the title of Survivor and that word is respected world over.
So tonight as you root for the Tide or Tigers know that there’s another champion watching the game too…His name is Max. He’s almost six and he’s a Survivor.