By Ken Reed

My primary mission at League of Fans is to write about contemporary sports issues, and to try to find ways in which the world of sports could be better for all its stakeholders.

But my favorite part of this gig is finding little nuggets, stories that I call “Sport At Its Best.” These stories exemplify the human spirit and feed the soul.

Here’s one that’s a couple months old but that I just recently came across. I love this:

It’s a story about two Eastern Michigan football players, Zack Conti and Brian Dooley.

Conti came into this season as a walk-on player. He didn’t have a football scholarship like the vast majority of his teammates. His family was struggling financially and his mom was dealing with health challenges and needed a kidney donor. As such, Conti needed to work multiple jobs in addition to his school work and football responsibilities. He made the necessary sacrifices, including giving up a lot of sleep time, all because he loved football so much. He worked a landscaping job, ripped out carpets and demo’d tile floors. He also donated his plasma for money in order to help pay his bills.

Brian Dooley, a fellow offensive lineman saw all this and wanted to do something to help Conti. Dooley is a graduate student in his final year of eligibility at Eastern Michigan. When he heard Conti was thinking about quitting the football team due to the issues he was dealing with, Dooley had an idea: Maybe I can give Conti my scholarship. He talked to his parents about it, told them Conti deserved it, and they said they were on board with the idea. He then talked to his football coach at Eastern Michigan, Chris Creighton, and though shocked at Dooley’s generosity, he confirmed it was possible to do the scholarship switch. He too was on board with the idea.

So, during a team meeting, Creighton told his players what Dooley wanted to do. He said he’d never seen anything like Dooley’s selfless offer before. And then Dooley got out of his chair and walked over to Conti and gave him an envelope. The envelope had Conti’s new scholarship inside. When that happened, the rest of Conti’s teammates came over and gave him hugs, cheers and pats on the back.

Sacrificing for a teammate. Beautiful stuff. A very cool moment, to say the least.

Here’s the video of this unique gift.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.