This week, one of my wife’s best friends, Mandy, passed away tragically. She was a mother of three, always had a smile on her face, had a razor-sharp–and often sarcastic–wit, and a spunky spirit. Three years ago, she and my wife took part in a 5K involving some crazy obstacles. A day my wife describes as “one of the best days of my life.”
My wife would occasionally go to her house to sunbathe by the pool. One of these times, Mandy invited me to tag along. Having nothing else to do (and with it being a typical muggy, hot North Carolina summer afternoon), I joined them.
Mandy’s three kids were out of school and having fun swimming, riding their go-kart around the yard, and getting involved in various forms of mischief that only young boys can get into. I had not met them until that point.
The youngest of Mandy’s boys, Matty, took a particular interest in me, especially when he learned that I was an author. He was six-years-old then, and a huge Carolina Panthers fan. He asked me before we left that day to write a story about him.
I said, “Sure.”
They thought I was kidding.
A day later, I sent his mom the following story in which both boys are the stars.
This is about Matty, but Mandy, this if for you. Keep groovin’ on wherever you may be.
Cam Newton got hurt at the start of the season for the Panthers. They looked for someone to fill in for him near Charlotte. After a tryout, they found their starting quarterback for the next 30 years in Kannapolis: 6-year-old Matty Davis.
He came in and took the NFL by storm. He was a good passer, but he loved to run like a running back.
He led the Panthers to Super Bowl XI against the Buffalo Bills. His older brother and enemy, Dylan, played on defense for Bills.
Matty was the smallest player on the field by far. All of the other guys were five times bigger than Matty. They were huge!
That did not bother him. He was brave.
He could do a few things they couldn’t.
He could pass better than anyone, but mostly he was fast. So fast he could run circles around and through all the Bills’ players except one: the freckle-faced Dylan Davis.
It was down to the last play of the game and the Panthers needed to score a touchdown to win.
The center hiked the ball to Matty, and he dropped back to pass. He couldn’t see any player to throw the ball to, so he ran!
He went left and around one of his players and was gone. The other team didn’t know where he was!
He started running through the big guy’s legs. ZOOM! Left then right and left again. No one could catch him!
The crowd came to their feet to watch.
Matty ran through one guy’s legs and saw the goal line in front of him. He had one more player to beat: his brother Dylan!
He looked mean! Dylan picked on Matty at home, but not here. This was Matty’s game. He wanted to win against his big brother.
Matty smiled and put his head down as he drove to the goal line. Dylan ran at Matty and tried to tackle him. Matty held onto the ball with his right hand and stuck his left out in front of him.
He and Dylan met with a big hit. Matty knocked Dylan on his back and jumped over him into the end zone!
The Panthers won the Super Bowl and Matty scored the winning touchdown. The crowd cheered loudly and Matty’s teammates put him on their shoulders and took him off the field to celebrate with ice cream.
He was a hero to all in North Carolina. He used the money they gave him to buy the coolest and fastest go-cart ever.