Punky and I have been attending Champlin Park High School Rebel football games for a few years now. Punky idolizes the star running back, Michael Sales. Punky spews stats about Michael during the entire game. When we are at home, Punky pretends he is the CPHS Rebel announcer for football games. When he plays football, he pretends he is Michael Sales.
Last year, CPHS played a playoff game on Punky’s birthday. My friend, Karen, had his birthday announced during the game. For Punky’s birthday, Michael Sales made him a handmade birthday card and signed a football for him. (Pictured right)
This year, we have also attended the games. Last Friday, Punky decided with 28 seconds left in the half that he was going to go down on the field and give Michael Sales a high-five as he ran out to the locker room. (Punky always has good ideas, but he’s so shy, he doesn’t always follow through with them). So, we walked down there on the field and waited for Michael.
Punky was beaming as Michael slapped his hand and started talking with him. His feet didn’t touch the ground the entire 2nd half of the game.
Saturday morning, Punky had his own flag football game. His grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncles, and cousins would be at the game to watch him. Punky had also invited my friend, Karen, the night before during the Rebels game.
Punky’s team took the field, and his coach announced the 3 captains for the game… Punky was one of them! (He beamed and mouthed to me….”just like Michael Sales!”) They went over for the coin toss and the game began.
My sister brought her awesome camera and her nice lens, so she started snapping away, taking super cute pictures of the team.
As the game went on, my friend Karen showed up and sat with us. She leaned over and said that her husband, Sam, and Michael Sales were on their way over to watch the game. What?!?!?!? I couldn’t wait to see Punky’s face when he noticed Michael on the sidelines.
My sister snapped his picture at the exact moment that he registered Michael Sales was at his game watching him. He grinned and waved his hand to acknowledge Michael’s presence.
Punky continued to play the game… you could tell there was a bit more energy in his step… more determination in his moves…all because Michael Sales was there watching him.
The whistle blew for halftime, and Punky raced across the field to greet his hero. Look at that grin!
First a “Hi!” followed by a high-five. My boy’s feet never touched the ground! He was beaming!
After halftime, Punky went back out there and played his heart out. Michael stayed for the remainder of the game chatting with all of us. What an awesome kid. Truly classy. I could never thank him enough for what he did for Punky. After the game, Punky ran back over to him and said “Thanks for coming to my game.” Michael replied, “Of course, you come to all of my games to watch me play…I had to come watch you!”
Punky will never ever forget the day that Michael Sales came to watch him play flag football.
Nope, never. This picture will live on in all of our minds and in our hearts. Thank you Michael for being such an inspiration!
These pictures will live on Punky’s shelf in his room right along side his signed Michael Sales football.
We’ll see you at your next home game, Michael! Punky and I will be cheering you on loudly from the stands!