Plain and simple, this is what sports are all about.
On Monday afternoon, in the midst of a busy news day, seven-year-old cancer patient Jack Hoffman once again (rightfully) stole the headlines when he got to meet President of the United States Barack Obama.
White House Archived @ObamaWhiteHouse
Jack, 7, is battling cancer and did this at a football game: http://t.co/8wayE9yyyp. Today, he met the President. http://t.co/6lkVBnQDsS4/29/2013, 8:00:18 PM
For the uninitiated, Hoffman, who was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2011 but is "doing great" (according to the ESPN report above), has been the centerpiece of the hands-down most beautiful, heartwarming story of the year.
It all started earlier this month at Nebraska's spring football game, where Hoffman (who is from Atkinson, Neb.) was given a Cornhusker jersey and helmet—and a handoff from quarterback Taylor Martinez:
Sixty-nine yards later, there likely wasn't a dry eye at Memorial Stadium, which featured over 60,000 fans screaming for Hoffman like it was the fourth quarter of the Big Ten championship.
Days later, he got to throw out the first pitch at Nebraska's softball game (via Michigan Softball):
Michigan Softball @umichsoftball
The view of the ceremonial first pitch from 7 y/o cancer patient Jack Hoffman here in Lincoln #goblue http://t.co/sruFiK5Kxq4/27/2013, 6:05:28 PM
Now this. Meeting one of the most important individuals in the world.
I think ESPN's Kevin Negandhi summed it up best back when Hoffman ran for that memorable, awe-inspiring touchdown a couple of weeks ago:
Kevin Negandhi @KNegandhiESPN
Jack Hoffman. 7 yrs old. Nebraska running back. Touchdown run. Dear Cancer, you will not take away life's great moments. Never give up Jack.4/7/2013, 4:53:53 AM
Cancer—or any other disease, disability or misfortune—can't take away life's greatest moments, and sports provide a grand stage for those moments to take place.
Whether it be Hoffman's story, Joseph Dever's infectious attitude or the countless others touched by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the heartwarming, unforgettable moments created via the sports world are abundant.
That same world can produce some real—putting it lightly—head-scratching moments that make you lose a little bit of faith in humanity, but it's stories like this that instantly restore it.
Thank you, Jack Hoffman. Thank you, sports.