A middle school football team from Olivet, Michigan, conspired for weeks to create a secret play that involved getting as close to the end zone as possible without scoring. The reason why has tugged on heartstrings across America, bringing people to tears.
Unbeknownst to coaches, staff or parents, the group of jocks schemed a play called the “Keith Special,” named after fellow team member Keith Orr, a student who struggles with learning disabilities and social skills. Their perfectly executed secret plan changed the culture at Olivet Middle School from selfish to selfless, and will forever be cemented in the hearts of these young men.
During a home game, the players took the football down to the 1-yard line: and took a knee. Quarterback Parker Smith recalled the moment he purposely failed to score and heard the noticeably upset crowd. “Us kids knew, hey, we got this. This is our time. This is Keith’s time.”
On the next play, the team closely huddled around Keith, handed him the ball, and gave him the chance to score his first touchdown. Video footage makes it hard to see Keith, because his teammates were fiercely protective of him while he ran. The Olivet Eagles’ least likely member had just scored a touchdown.
“Did he just score a touchdown?” asked Keith’s stunned mother. Keith’s parents laughed as they recalled fumbling to find their camera to capture the moment. Keith later described the moment as simply, “Awesome.”
Members of the team were later interviewed to explain what motivated them to plan something so kindhearted. “We really wanted to prove that he was part of our team and he meant a lot to us,” said one player. “It’s just like to make someone’s day, make someone’s week, just make them happy,” shared another.
Wide receiver Justice Miller sat with tears streaming down his face as he recalled the profound change that took place in his heart. Justice admitted he used to be only concerned about himself, and maybe a couple friends. Now, his heart has compassion for everyone.
We have a feeling that Justice is not the only one with a changed heart. Today, Keith struts around campus as a new kid, and will always have a team looking out for him for the rest of his school career.