The biggest “little” fan . . . the last Reed’s Run
When we first envisioned doing something to fund the Reed Stevens Memorial Scholarship, we never saw an event as big as what Reed’s Run became. The four runs produced many different results: some expected and others pleasant surprises. The obvious by-products were a successful fundraising venture and a community event enjoyed by many. Among the unexpected were the blossoming of friendships and the renewal of friendships from long ago.
One of those friendships was rekindled in those early days in the hospital when Sawyer was still in the Intensive Care. It was something akin to the proverbial blessings that those who have walked through tragedy really have eyes and hearts open enough to see. The connection was with one of Sawyer’s godmothers.
As the days drew closer to the final run, we realized that we were going to have a house filled with loved ones as well as a few hotel rooms with other loved ones. For those travelling from far away, we decided to send out an agenda of what we would be offering in the way of entertainment. After working set-up all day Friday, a break would take place to cheer on Sawyer and the Lakers with a September/October birthday party at the fire pit in Reed’s garden afterwards.
To be honest, we didn’t think many would take us up on the offer for the football game. To our surprise, there were 15 people that comprised the cheering section for number 74. One among our group was Sawyer’s little god-brother, S, proudly clad in Laker blue and waving homemade flags emblazoned with Sawyer’s name and school “mascot”. S cheered on the team, and more than once he wondered aloud why the team or coaches weren’t listening to his flag as the score did not reflect his impassioned cheering. Sadly, Sawyer didn’t play for three fourths of the game, and for a while I felt like we had asked these loved ones from Georgia, California, western North Dakota, and Florida to come for nothing. Then in the final few minutes, Sawyer and the other Junior Varsity guys went in.
All of a sudden an amazing tackle happens, and over the loudspeaker we hear, “Tackle made by Sawyer Stevens.” (This, of course, reads better if you do the loudspeaker echoing voice out loud.) The Sawyer Stevens entourage cheered exuberantly, but none compared to little S. He jumped up and down, declaring for all who would listen, “Sawyer listened to my flag. I knew it would work!” I don’t really care what others would call the play of that game. For one sophomore player, that was definitely it.
For the trip to the birthday bash, Sawyer rode with his god-family the 30 miles back to Marshall. Even though I wasn’t there, the story told by his godmother about the trip home was priceless. Huddled together in the back of the car with their heads touching were two brothers (one in high school and one in elementary) deep in conversation and game playing.
For the one who misses his big brother every day, it was a model example of brotherly love and what used to be. For the rest of us, it was a reminder that even though the circumstances aren’t what we had planned, God’s vision of family is BIGGER than we could ever imagine.