Football is a demanding sport even if you're in prime physical shape with no limitations holding you back. So imagine what it's like to play the same sport with a disability, as huge, athletic freaks come barreling at you every opportunity they have.
That's the difficulty facing Jake Olson, a longsnapper for USC. As a complication from cancer in his childhood, Olson has been blind since the age of 12, and had yet to participate in a live football game entering USC's Week One matchup against Western Michigan.
But with the Trojans up 17 and about to kick another extra point, they saw an opportunity to get Olson involved, and sent him onto the field to snap an extra point late in the fourth quarter. He absolutely nailed his opportunity, snapping a picture-perfect ball to the holder on his first attempt.
How do you not feel inspired seeing Olson overcome his disability to make a play for a major college football program? Even during a busy weekend of college football, Olson's triumph stood out from the rest of the slate. Everyone was moved by the moment, from diehard college football fans to people who couldn't care less about sports.
Jake Olson, USC's blind long snapper, just snapped for the first time in a live game. Extra point is good. That was phenomenal.— Ashley Adamson (@AdamsonAshley) September 3, 2017
I hate USC - Always have always will - I always root against them - but watching the Jake Olson long snap today brought me to tears #Class— James Whiteley (@JamesWhiteley6) September 3, 2017
One of the most impressive things you will ever witness.— Brent Oliver (@BToliver17) September 3, 2017
Proof that we can do anything we put our minds to. This kid should be an inspiration to millions.— Cory Goldsmith (@GoldsmithCory) September 3, 2017
It's the best thing you'll see all day -- and season https://t.co/fjPq8M72p4— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) September 3, 2017
Moments like this make the game even more special than it already is. https://t.co/0TkOUNUwwT— Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein) September 3, 2017
Olson spoke to reporters after participating in his first game, and he summed up the moment quite nicely. Thanking his team and the coaching staff for their help in making this happen, Olson emphasized that you can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you don't give up.
"You saw the support and love I got when I ran back out, it's something so special," said Olson of the support from his teammates. "The only thing that can stop you in life is you. Today was a dream come true."
Kudos to all involved here, including the Western Michigan team that understood the significance of the moment. Some things are bigger than the game, and Olson's moment in the sun is certainly one of them.
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