When you hear about football these days, it’s as likely to be about concussions, bullying, the ugly story of Richie Incognito or something similar, as it is to be about an actual game. Though the National Football League is bringing in heaps of money from what happens on the field, everything off the field is a horror show. The NFL could learn something from one Middle School football team.
The Olivet Eagles of Olivet, Michigan have one special needs player. Keith Orr is relatively scrawny and has issues with social boundaries. In the footage above, he can be seen pinballing from person to person as he walks to school, saying only “hug,” then hugging that person. His schoolmates seem to know what to expect. They casually hug back with one arm.
We only know so much about Keith Orr, but it’s clear that not all of life comes easily to him, and his Eagles teammates recognized that. So they designed a play for him.
First, they had to set it up. Sheridan Hedrick broke loose and had a clear path to the endzone...but he takes a knee on the one yard line. Then the next play, Orr, who it seems clear, does not handle the ball took a handoff from the quarterback, and the rest of the team created an opening for him to score a touchdown.
Orr and his parents were thrilled, but watch the above segment, and you’ll see that this act of kindness rippled back to the Olivet Eagles themselves, and made them more compassionate people.
We don’t teach compassion in schools, because it’s too nebulous an idea, and not something where it’s obvious how to teach it, but watch the interview with one of Orr’s teammates, and tell me he didn’t just learn one of the most valuable lessons he will get from high school.