Updated: Mar 13
Within one week the world was exposed to two great stories in sports, neither are about the actual games or players themselves though. Instead they cut much deeper than individual stat-lines or wins and losses.
A week ago the Carolina Hurricanes had the pleasure of Tyler Figueroa-Butler, an 11 year-old leukemia survivor, perform the National Anthem. Tyler played a beautiful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" on his violin that completely blew fans away.
The Canes took on the Anaheim Ducks on Hockey Fights Cancer Night and they changed this young mans life, along with those watching in awe.
Tyler was only four years old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This is a bon cancer where his marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). Due to this he had been in remission for 4 years.
He recently became a big brother to his parents newborn son, Adam, who will grow looking up to Tyler and his incredible story.
The sports world didn't stop pulling on our heart strings there, and showed us another reason why sports speak volumes and further inspire those witnessing greatness.
Derrick Henry rushed for 238 yards and 4 Touchdowns, including a 99-yard TD run in a 30-9 blowout over the Jags, helping increase Tennessee's playoff hopes.
However post-game Henry was more interested in discussing his game-worn cleats that are a part of a movement called 'My Cause My Cleats'.
In high-school Henry would volunteer for kids in the Special Olympics and enjoyed seeing the joy in their faces, treating events like their version of Friday Night Football. As he wore custom to raise awareness for kids involved in Special Olympics, through the NFL's 'My Cause My Cleats'.
So he picked out kids in Special Olympics to visit and spend time with and had the kids help design these cleats. He put the designs on his cleats where he showcased an unbelievable and historic performance.
The cleats are currently up for auction with all proceeds going to The Special Olympics. To make things better, Steve Smith, former Carolina Panther, placed the opening bid at $5000 during his post-game interview. The bidding is currently at $7500 and growing.
It's refreshing to put what happens between the lines or on the ice on hold for just a minute to witness the strength of sports. Yes they motivate people to strive to be better and offer fans a sense of pride for their city but also show us hope.
Sports have the ability to promote incredible stories such as Tyler's road to recovery and stunning performance, along with great causes like Derrick Henry's cleats for kids involved with Special Olympics.
It's stories like these that make people see past the initial ideas and purpose of sports, looking at what every sport has the capability of doing on a deeper level.
NHL.com | Eleven-year-old leukemia survivor wows with national anthem on violin
Twitter | Carolina Hurricanes
NFL.com | Steve Smith Sr. bids $5k on Henry's "TNF" Cleats | My Cause My Cleats
NFL Auction | My Cause My Cleats - Titans Derrick Henry Signed AND Game Worn Custom Cleats