I've heard of guys crying real tears because of the NFL lockout. Debating a fall without football can take down even the toughest of the tough guys. But the people who are crying over Chicago Bears' rookie J.T. Thomas' latest adventure actually have the lockout to thank for the heartwarming, tissue-soaking tale.
Yup, it was the very fact that Thomas had no pressing football-related engagements that allowed him to escort a little girl named Joslyn Levell with spina bifida to her eighth grade formal dance. Go ahead, get the tissues. You're going to need 'em after this one's done!
It turns out the 22-year-old has a little brother named Jared who is still in grade school back in West Virginia, where Thomas played football for West Virginia University. Naturally, the little boy rides a school bus, and he shares it with none other than Levell. According to NFL.com, when the bus driver learned Levell was a Bears fan, he decided to invite Jared's big brother on the bus for a meet and greet.
Frankly, that would be enough of a reason to celebrate the lockout, wouldn't it? That a little Bears fan with spina bifida, a congenital birth defect that keeps her confined to a wheelchair, was able to meet one of her heroes because he was home in West Virginia just hanging with his fam? The Bears' sixth pick in the NFL draft this spring, normally guys like Thomas would be focused on what it meant to be a new Bear, when they'd have to report to training camp, acclimating themselves to the new team so they ensure they retain a spot, that kind of thing. Instead he was visiting kids on a school bus.
But wait! There's more! Joslyn told J.T. it had been an especially bad week because she asked a few boys to her eighth grade formal, and the jerks all said no (oooh, the pain of high school ...). So the big burly football player decided to do something about it. He had his stepmother check with the school -- OK, tell me that isn't adorable? That he had his mom make calls for him to go to a dance? -- to make sure he wouldn't be causing any trouble if he took a 14-year-old to a dance. The school and Joslyn's parents both said yes. So he called her up and asked her out on a "date."
Not surprisingly, kids at Levell's school were over the moon. He might not have played in the NFL yet, but he's already a hero to the kids for his years at West Virginia University. And now he's a hero for football fans everywhere. I'd say we have the lockout to thank for that!
What has been your favorite story to come out about players' activities during the lockout? Does Thomas' tale top them?
Image via Chicago Bears