Sunday, November 2, 2014

Life is more than Wins and Losses

Dear Hokie Nation,

I know your heart is broken over the loss that the Hokies suffered again yesterday.  The weather was terrible, the crowd was the lightest we have ever seen in Lane Stadium, and once again the team lost.  We look down the schedule at our remaining games and scratch our heads knowing that the Commonwealth Cup is in Jeopardy as well as our bowl eligibility. 

Yesterday, however, there was an amazing thing going on at Lane Stadium way beyond the score on the scoreboard at the end of the cold, wet, and damp game.  Special Spectators is a nonprofit group that partners with colleges around the United States to provide magical days for seriously ill children and their families.  Our family was blessed and got to participate in this program when our son David was battling stage IV cancer at UVA two years ago.  We were so blessed with our participation in this two years ago that we have signed on to be host volunteers to host other families.

Yesterday was Special Spectators day at Virginia Tech.  Yesterday three families whose children are fighting life-threatening illnesses were blessed with a magical day at Lane Stadium.  My family acted as the host volunteers welcoming the families and spending the day with them. 

We were the host family and here is our son, David, meeting Bill Roth in his radio tower for our first stop on our magical day.  Mike and Bill were amazing with this group of kids and they even let them try on their headsets and sit in their chairs.  I am not sure what was better up there-the beautiful view of the field or the kindness and hospitality from Mike and Bill. 
My boys, Kyle and David with Bill Roth.  Bill and Mike allowed the kids in our group time to ask questions, look around, take pictures, and despite their hectic game days, they were so kind and gracious to all the kids in our group.  These two are true class acts.
After Bill Roth's tower, host from VT took us on the field via the tunnell!  Here is my David pretending to be a player running through the tunnel. 
All the kids from our group got to go on the field touch the infamous Hokie stone, and take pictures. 
It was cold, rainy, wet, and damp but the kids could have cared less!  They were on the field sitting on the bench in Lane Stadium!!!
We got a little off schedule and the team was suppose to be in the locker room any minute.  The amazing VT reps, did not want our group of kids to miss anything, so they told our kids if we could move quickly and not touch anything we could go in the locker room for a picture!  It was gorgeous in there and the guys were so welcoming and kind. 
After the locker room, our kids were ushered into the Merryman Center and we waited a few minutes for Coach Beamer!  On a busy game day, he took several minutes and spoke to each of our kids in our group, posed for a group picture that was later used on the Jumobtron during the game, and....
even paused to take a selfie with one of the kids from our group!!  This kid was amazing and was there with his two buddies, one of whom is fighting Leukemia.  He was using his Mom's borrowed iphone for his special day at VT and he was not too quick working it.  Coach Beamer, who obviously had a lot on his mind 1.5 hours before kickoff, paused and patiently let this kid navigate his Mom's phone to take a selfie.  Coach Beamer is an amazing guy!  This kid was so proud of his selfie with Coach! 
Virginia Tech hosted our group at one of the corporate tailgates and the Hokie bird and cheerleaders stopped by our tailgate! 
David with the cheerleaders!
Okay, if your eyes mist when you read sweet things, get a tissue ready.  Yesterday the weather was miserable and we were worried that our kids in our group would not be able to stay for the whole game due to the cold temps and rain.  The marketing rep brought us our tickets during our tailgate and the bomb was dropped on us that due to the weather that they were upgrading our entire group's tickets to inside the club box so our kids would stay warm and dry.  That was a game changer for these kids fighting cancer and other serious medical issues.  Instead of shivering and freezing, we were inside warm and dry with free concessions during the entire game. When the marketing rep told me about the ticket upgrades, I grabbed him and hugged him.  As the volunteer host for the day, it was amazing to share that news with the families. 
So, Hokie Nation, I know you are totally heart-broken over another football loss, but please know that Virginia Tech may not have come away with a win yesterday, but they rolled out the red carpet and blessed some amazing kids fighting some huge Goliaths in their own lives.  They treated these kids and this volunteer host to a day that none of us will ever forget.  Coach Beamer patiently paused several minutes on a game day to allow a special needs child using his Mom's iphone to pose for a selfie.  Marketing reps shuffled and got permission from who knows where to upgrade 16 tickets so sick kids would stay dry and warm.  Virginia Tech may have lost a game yesterday, but they won a whole lot more-they truly made a difference in the lives of some sick kids.  So Hokie Nation, be proud!


  1. that's one fo the things i like about coach beamer and his players. sort of puts football in it's proper place doesn't it?

  2. Brought tears to my eyes, makes me so proud to be a part of hokie nation. Yes ive been disappointed with the losses this year but this article truly puts things in the proper perspective for me. go hokies! So proud of our coaches and players

  3. Love, love, love Coach Beamer and our Hokie Nation!

  4. Love, love, love Coach Beamer and our Hokie Nation!

  5. My father and brother are both Hokies (Class of 55 and Class of 85). In August of 2012, our 4 year old granddaughter (who had been to several football games - she loved "Hokie game day" as she called it) was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma in her brainstem. These types of cancer are a death sentence and she passed in October of 2013 at 5 years old. During her illness, Coach Beamer somehow found out about her cancer and took the time to write us a personal note telling us to hang in there. We are not big donors or anybody politically connected, he did it because he cares. We are also Christians who believe in the healing power of Jesus. We will be praying for David.

  6. Awesome story! It is great to be a part of Hokie Nation! Prayers to all of the kids and their families!

  7. Amazing story! Great to be a part of Hokie Nation! Prayers go out to those kids and their families!

  8. Prior to the OSU game, a Columbus beat writer wrote an amazing article about Frank Beamer and what a great guy he is and the charitable acts of kindness he seems to do as a matter of course. The Special Spectators article really further emphasizes that about our coach. Sometimes we diehard VT fans lose track of what's really important and this article really brings that home. Thanks so much for posting this! VT Alum Class of 82