Today is the Third Annual Mack Brady Soccer Clinic sponsored by Penn State Men’s and Women’s Soccer. That means that we have passed the second anniversary of Mack’s passing and his 11th birthday. We have been so very grateful for the incredible love and support that we have received. Most of all, we are grateful that others remember Mack and have been motived to “pay it forward.”
When our students in the Schreyer Honors College returned to campus in January 2012 the Student Council decided to establish “Mack’s Day of Kindness” to honor Mack on his birthday. They have continued this each year. They have two triptychs set up in the lobby of Atherton Hall and on one they have dozens and dozens of little slips of paper with kind deeds written on them. (Mack’s best friend John, for example, picked one up, turned to Izzy and said “You have beautiful hair.” He then put the card back. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “The card said ‘compliment someone’ so I did!”) On the other board they had information about the clinic and two young people in need. One is the less than one year old son of a local pastor and the other our Penn State #16 Brett Gravatt.
Brett is a sophomore on our men’s team and is a great young man. On December 26 he suffered a skiing accident that has left him paralyzed from the waist down. This would be a difficult injury for anyone, but of course impacts an athlete in a particular way. Our prayers and other tangible offers of love and support continue and we will be with him through it all. I know that because we have experienced this ourselves.
Someone recently wrote to me, sending us encouragement and saying that she could not understand how it was that we had done so much (clinic, game, day of kindness) in our grief. The truth is we have not. We stand because we are supported by so many. We feel your hands on our shoulders, your presence by our side as we walk this difficult path.
So, thank you, again and again, thank you.