Two days before the San Francisco 49ers earned their first victory of the year over the Oakland Raiders; star running back Frank Gore received a special award from a special visitor.
Eighteen-year-old Tyre Shamir Duffin helped to present Gore with the Crystal Inspiration Award from the “When U Dream A Dream Foundation.” The president of the foundation, Lawrence Pleskow, also presented the award.
Although the award was given to Gore because of his accomplishments on the football field, it may have been Duffin who got the biggest prize.
Duffin suffers from spastic quadriplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy. There are three types of spastic cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia is the most serious and disabling form of the three.
Spastic quadriplegia affects the entire body. All four quadrants of the body are either paralyzed or have very limited usage.
As in most cases of spastic quadriplegia, Duffin cannot walk or speak. He uses an electric wheelchair to get around and a computer to communicate.
One of Duffin’s greatest wishes was to meet his hero Frank Gore.
He got that wish on Friday, and through his computer said to Gore,
“Hi Frank Gore, it is nice to meet you. I have been a 49ers fan since I was a baby. Offense, offense!”
Gore responded with a promise, “I told him I’d try to do my best to give him a great game on Sunday."
Nothing can really describe the joy and excitement that Duffin most have been feeling that day when he got his wish. He met his hero. He and his family got to watch practice and tour the 49ers facility. They also got autographs and visits from nearly all of the team’s players.
What could possibly top that?
Perhaps knowing that Gore’s huge day was a big catalyst to the team’s first victory of the year?
After struggling a bit in the first half, Gore finished the day with 25 carries and 149 yards. He also had his biggest run of the year of 64 yards.
Perhaps Gore remembered his promise to that young man.
And perhaps that young man’s dream got just a little bit better by knowing he may have been the inspiration for Gore’s best performance of the year and the team’s fist victory.
I know it put a smile on my face.