Gesture of the month: Michigan makes a fan's dream come true
- Published: Friday, 27 June 2014 11:31
- by Zach Barnett
Stephen Loszewski sat at a table. Hats representing Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame rested in front of him. If you knew anything about what happened earlier that day, you would know which hat he picked up.
A native of Grain Valley, Mo., Loszewski had to give up his high school football career after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) three and a half years ago. Though his days on the field were done, Loszewski never dropped his dream of being recruited his beloved Michigan Wolverines.
After years of beating his disease into remission, Loszewski submitted his wish to the Make-A-Wish Foundation: to be a Michigan football recruit for a day. Unbeknownst to him, Make-A-Wish, Michigan and ESPN began working behind the scenes to make it happen.
It started with former Wolverine and current St. Louis Ram Jake Long driving across the state to hand deliver recruiting letters from the Michigan coaching staff. "When Jake Long came to my house, I basically left myself open to just about anything that could happen," Loszewski told MLive.com.
Earlier this week, the entire Loszewski family flew to Ann Arbor and the proverbial maize and blue carpet was rolled out. They toured the facilities. They watched film with coaches. They had separate one-on-one meetings with head coach Brady Hoke and athletics director Dave Brandon. They had lunch with quarterback Devin Gardner and linebacker Jake Ryan.
Then, Loszewski got to do what he and so many others dream of, but very few actually get to do. He donned a No. 57 jersey and a winged helmet, ran down the tunnel and slapped that famous "Go Blue" midfield banner you've certainly seen a thousand times before.
"The greatest moment for me, to see him strap a helmet on again, when I thought he never would … was very, very special and it's a moment I'll never forget," said his father, Greg.
After addressing the team, Loszewski turned around and saw Desmond Howard standing there, waiting to meet Michigan's prized recruit. (ESPN will air a segment of the day later this summer.)
Then Loszewski headed to the Crisler Center, where those four hats waited for him.
"I want to say," Loszewski said, "this decision could not have been less difficult."