If you can’t hardly stomach all of the off-field issues surrounding the game of college football, this may be the elixir you’ve been looking for.
A few years back, the Pete Carroll-led USC Trojans football team essentially adopted Jake Olson, a teenage fan suffering from cancer of the retina in his right eye (he lost his left eye when he was less than one year old). It was subsequently determined that Olson would need the right eye removed; on his final day of sight prior to the surgery that would leave him blind for the rest of his life, he chose to attend a Trojans football practice.
Fast-forward roughly five years, and Olson is now an 18-year-old young man who became a long-snapper for his high school football team and is about to embark on his journey as a college student — at USC, of course.
Olson, the Los Angeles Times writes, “is a recipient of a Swim With Mike scholarship, awarded annually from the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship fund.” While he’s not a part of the Trojans’ incoming recruiting class, it appears that he will have part of his favorite team as a walk-on.
From the Times‘ report:
Olson, 18, was introduced as a Swim With Mike scholarship winner in February during an event where video highlights of incoming football players were shown to Trojans fans. He would join the program as a walk-on.
Olson said he was “stoked” to be headed to USC, which also accepted his sister.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said.
For Steve Sarkisian, it’s a matter of when, not if, Olson takes the field in a real football game.
“Someday, he’s going to snap in a game for us,” the head coach said. “When? I don’t know. But it will happen.
“When that day comes, it will be awesome.”
“I can’t even fathom what an extraordinary thing that would be,” Carroll said when asked about Olson playing in a game for his former program, with Olson, when the subject of preferential treatment came up, adding, “[I] just [want] the opportunity to prove myself like anyone else.”
Bravo to Olson, Sarkisian, Carroll and the entire USC program. That is going to be one special day when the young man takes the field for the first time.
(Photo credit: openyoureyes.org)