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Coaches have vision for blind boy

To the Times of Ti: During a routine football game on Oct. 19, 2007, Blaise Bryant scored his first touchdown in his short yet long football career. As a young high school student, Blaise experienced a moment of glory that will forever stay within his spirit and heart. Through the darkness of his sight, his soul was illuminated as the crowd and his teammates cheered him on to achieve perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime moment. He had made is first touchdown. While others may experience these glorious moments in time, my grandson, more often than not, meets challenges that often surface through difficult hurdles for him to overcome. The same experiences presented to others are often difficult experiences for Blaise because my grandson is blind. As a family we support and encourage his need to fit in and participate among his peers to the best of his abilities, but on that cool, crisp, autumn evening we too had lost sight of his disability. We have met a few individuals who have said Blaise is incapable of achieving some things he has attempted coaches who have lacked creative thinking or understanding of a disabled childs needs to fit in. By the grace of God came coaches Peter Whalen ( who was the first to organize PAL football) and Casey Nephew. Through the years their efforts and determination to teach Blaise that anything is possible with hard work, positive thinking and endless motivation much can be achieved. With one play, designed specifically to meet Blaises challenges, hours of practice went into this moment when Coach Nephew felt confident and said, Bryant, youre in. True coaching is delivered through knowledge base of the sport and ability to see beyond the scoreboard, sometimes with brief moments of glory. For my grandson and these two coaches they can each remember this moment forever because I will. Thank you and God bless you Peter Whalen and Casey Nephew for being guided by a vision rather than sight. Dolores (Lootz) Burhart
Mineville

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