When competitors team up to support a player in need, rivalry turns into camaraderie.
Instead of playing football alongside his teammates at Mission High School this year, Ramiro Garcia is cheering for his favorite NFL teams from his hospital bed in San Antonio, Texas. Meanwhile, at home in Mission, an entire city is rooting for him!
The 17-year-old was recently diagnosed with leukemia. And anticipating the hair loss from chemotherapy treatments, he decided to shave his head.
While playing football is off the table for him right now, that hasn’t stopped his teammates — and rivals — from coming together to show him they care. On September 18, nearly 100 people gathered at Brick Fire Pizza to lift Ramiro’s spirits from afar with a beautiful display of solidarity.
At the “Brave the Shave” event, Eagles and Patriots players alike lined up to get their heads buzzed, as did coaches and community members. Meanwhile, others sent photos and videos to Ramiro, who was touched by the gesture.
“Them being here, of course showing support for my son. It shows who we are, of what we’re all about. Mission strong, one for all and all for [one]. That’s what we’re all about.” said Ramiro’s father, who shares the same name.
That day, 71 people left with bald heads — and a sense of community they hadn’t felt before. In those few hours, the conflict between the two teams disappeared.
“This is one of the biggest rivalries at the Rio Grande Valley, is mission and mission veterans,” said Mission Veterans Head Coach David Gilpin. “But when it comes down to life and it comes down to supporting each other, we’re all gonna be there for each other.”
Now this is what sportsmanship is all about! These teams may play against each other, but they’re united where it counts. Thanks to them, Ramiro knows he’s not alone in his fight.
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