Reaching across enemy lines, Brady Hoke’s kind gesture will provide a young Buckeye fan with energy and a memory of a lifetime. (MGoBlog, Flickr)
With one special move, Brady Hoke earned plenty of karma points in Columbus, East Lansing and heck, most other Big Ten campuses where the Michigan Wolverines are considered public enemy number one.
Like everyone, Hoke was apparently moved by the story of young Grant Reed of Bellville, Ohio who, after being diagnosed with cancer famously called his brain tumor “Michigan” and vowed to beat it. Reed was recently released from the hospital, thus completing every Ohio State Buckeye’s dream: defeat of Michigan.
As most Wolverine fans and Michiganders of all persuasions would agree, beating “Michigan” in this sense was totally acceptable. Hoke also agreed, and recently reached out to Reed, providing him and his family with tickets to this year’s Michigan-Ohio State game in Ann Arbor. It was a beautiful gesture from the heart.
Within the high-pressure world of sports, where rivalries often unfortunately spill over into more important, real life every day affairs in other places (we’re looking at you, Alabama), it was exciting to see a young man and his “hated rival” coach share a special moment of levity. Like former Michigan State football coach John L. Smith’s wife Diana receiving her cancer treatments from the Michigan hospital system, when health is concerned, thankfully rivalry continues to matter not.
Just ask this Spartan, who once had his life changed by a surgeon who trained at the University of Michigan. Within the initial meetings prior to a major procedure, nerves and apprehension are normal for anyone. Once I entered the office and got a look at the Wolverine-crested diploma, however, I suddenly felt a sense of calm. This woman was trained properly and chances are, everything would end up alright. Thankfully, it did. Those eggheads from Ann Arbor certainly know what they’re doing in operating rooms.
Similarly, just ask countless Wolverines who have had their pets or animals saved by Spartans from Michigan State’s top college of veterinary medicine. When a family friend who graduated from Nebraska was given a fatal diagnosis for his dog from multiple other sources, the only place he had left to turn was Michigan State. Now, his family’s best friend continues to live on. Thank goodness animals are their specialty and they’re known as “Moo-U,” right?
Hoke himself has done everything right since becoming Michigan’s head coach. The move to host the Reed family was less about public relations and more about helping a young boy and his family feel good after their long fight. Hoke might not be a surgeon or a doctor, but his move could still have medicinal effects. Hopefully, multiple news outlets are there to document the look on young Grant’s face when he gets to see his Buckeyes take the field at Michigan Stadium. There could be no bigger thrill in the world.
That itself could provide Grant with the final ounces of power to continue his triumph over a ruthless, miserable disease in the next few months ahead. His biggest surge will likely supplied not by a pill or a machine, but courtesy of Hoke, the leader of his biggest sports rival.
Though he wasn’t born a Wolverine, Grant is still a conquring hero who deserves to be hailed. On November 30, 2013, thanks to a most generous act by Hoke, he’ll prove he won the fight against the team across the field while showing the world Ohio’s here.
Go young Buckeye.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax