I have mentioned before that I, unlike many of you, am not a Michigan alum. Simply put, I am just a fan, and have been one since 1987. The only "real" connection I have to the university is the money I send the athletic department for my football tickets each year. And Zach allows me to write things about the Wolverines, for which I am very grateful. Whether those things allow me to consider myself a part of a larger community, or to have any pride in the university, what it stands for, and its athletic programs is debatable, I guess; but there are some stories that reinforce whatever pride I may be allowed.
You see, the Wolverines have added 9-year-old Miles Root to the Michigan lacrosse roster. Miles is a part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation; a program that supports children who have been diagnosed with pediatric brain tumors. Miles was diagnosed with a brain tumor at five years old, and has subsequently gone through numerous procedures to help in his recovery. As a result of something called posterior fossa syndrome, which developed after excising the tumor, he is now unable to move any part of his body.
Miles and his family were invited to the university, where the lacrosse program adopted Miles; he will now be a member of the team and will be able to build some pretty cool relationships with the lacrosse program. During an interview with mgoblue.com, coach John Paul was asked about the team's experience with Miles and his family:
On Miles Root and the Friends of Jaclyn becoming part of the team ... "Our guys are great, and they always are in situations like that. I think it's a real privilege to be part of a family's life that's going through what they're going through. They don't have to share their time with us, and they've chosen to, and I think that there's a responsibility that comes with that. Our guys did a wonderful job with the family and with Miles and I knew they would. This gives us an opportunity to teach some lessons to our guys. You certainly can't take anything for granted when you're around a kid and a family like that, and if it helps them get through this period in their lives, then awesome, we've done something good. I love it and it's certainly something that we're going to continue."
There has been some good recruiting info on the men's and women's programs, fall ball is wrapping up, and the season is right around the corner. But, stories like Miles Root's show what good people are at the school, in the athletic department, and how both can be used to help children through some pretty tough times. Times that children shouldn't have to face.
Check out the full article on Miles and his family's experience with the lacrosse program over at mgoblue.com. You can also read the full interview with John Paul here; he covers some other team-related items that are also worth reading.