It was a Wednesday afternoon, the day before the big homecoming game, and Bobby was once again waddling around the track in his dirty uniform doing his laps when a messenger ran out of the school office to hand the coach a piece of paper. After reading the note, the coach blew his whistle and motioned for Bobby to come over. "Bobby", the coach said. "I have some bad news. Your father has had a heart attack and has been taken to the hospital. You better go see him."
Bobby darted off the field, changed his clothes, then ran to the hospital. Later that night, word was received that Bobby's father had passed away. The next morning Bobby did not come to school; however, that evening about halfway through the first quarter of the big homecoming game, Bobby waddled out onto the field.
"Coach," Bobby asked, "Can I play tonight?"
As the game progressed, it turned into a disaster for Bobby's team. Though the other team had scored 21 points in the first half, Bobby's team was still at zero. Following half-time, Bobby ran up to the coach and begged him to play.
Bobby, watching the clock, got up and ran over to the coach and asked, "Coach, can I please play?" Realizing that nothing was going to change the outcome of the game at this point, the coach agreed and let Bobby go in. Within minutes of being on the field, Bobby intercepted two passes and then tackled several opposing team players. With only seconds to go, Bobby blocked and tackled so effectively his team was able to score its one and only touchdown.
Even though Bobby's team lost 28-7, it was obvious to all that Bobby was the most valuable player and, as a token of appreciation, the team gave Bobby the game ball. After most of the players had left the field, the coach walked over to Bobby and said, "Bobby you really surprised us tonight. Why didn't you ever play like this before?" the coach asked.
With his head down, Bobby replied, "Coach, to tell you the truth, I never wanted to play football. It was my Mom and Dad who wanted me to play."
"Well, what about your father?" the coach asked. "If he wanted you to play, why didn't he ever come to any of the games to watch you play?"