Caroline Stanley and Sam Gordon Love Football, Fútbol and USC!
Feb. 21, 2013
Back in January, I checked my Facebook to see a friend posted a VIDEO ON MY WALL. It was titled "Girl Football Wonder" and my friend wrote to me, "Hey look, I found your childhood game film." I was so confused at first. Until I watched the video.
This tiny 9-year-old girl, swallowed up in her football uniform and pads, snags the handoff and cuts left. then jukes right and dashes down the field, out-running every single boy by a mile. I was astonished! And jealous! I always wanted to play football growing up. My father was a collegiate football player and I was raised watching and adoring football. I obsessed over this video, re-watching it and all the different video of her from "Sam takes a hit" to "Sam's 35th touchdown". I couldn't believe what I was seeing!
I knew I had to meet this girl! Finding out Sam played soccer was icing on the cake. Sam and I linked up on Twitter and her father called me and we talked a few times then discussed a meet and greet! Sam was going to come out to LA for the Cartoon Hall of Fame Awards and had some free time. So her dad asked if I wanted to hang out with her for the day. My response was, "Of course!"
Sam had done a ton of interviews and long days of photo shoots so I wanted to make sure she had a day of fun! My teammates were SO stoked to find out Sam was coming to play with us. She arrived on campus and I instantly felt like I was looking at myself 10 years ago. We skipped off to the McKay Center and met up with my teammates. We all walked her around and showed her what it's like to be at the world's greatest school.
We walked her through the day of an athlete and she was so intrigued. Her favorite part was our underwater treadmill, and she was so bummed she didn't have her swimsuit! Then we headed outside and played a small game of soccer and watched as she sprinted around us without any hesitation or any sign of intimidation despite us being a decade older than this little girl.
In the run of play she yelled at a senior teammate of mine, "You're being lazy!" and that's when I knew Sam was my mini-me! She suggested we play a game of two-hand touch football next. That of course got a little too competitive but was a blast.
It was such a joy seeing this child running around with such athleticism and having the time of her life. Sam then wanted some SC gear so I went with her family to the bookstore as we goofed around trying on silly glasses and playing with teddy bears. Sam racked up a nice bills worth of SC gear, but her dad knew she fell in love with the school that day and it was worth it. We ended the day with pizza and smiles as I taught her the "Fight On" sign. Sam and I hugged each other and promised we'd write and always stay in touch.
It was an amazing day for Sam, her family, for me, and for my teammates. Not only did I make a new lifelong friend, but she reminded me of the reason why I do what I do. At one point, I was that goofy, overly energetic kid who couldn't wait to get on the field and play the sport I love. That is something that few people get the opportunity to do, and should never be taken for granted for one minute. Sam reminded me of that and that is an experience I will hold dear to my heart and never forget.