Before JJ McCarthy became a quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines, he found lasting inspiration in a simple smiley face. This unforgettable moment took place when McCarthy was a sophomore in high school. Even then he was a football superstar, taking the time to sign autographs after games.
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There’s one game in particular, though, where McCarthy played poorly. His team lost. Still, a little girl around 7 years old was excited to say hello — but she could tell that the high schooler was upset. She didn’t understand why.
In fact, she even asked McCarthy why he was so upset. Her response? To smile more, something she encouraged through a simple yet adorable smiley face she drew on the back of his hand.
In doing so, she reminded the football player the importance of a positive mindset and having fun.
JJ McCarthy Draws a Smiley Face on His Hand for Heartwarming Reason
“It was such a profound moment for just how simple it was,” McCarthy recalls.
It was so impactful, in fact, that he chose to wear a smiley face on his hand for the rest of the season — and they won every game. Now, he carries this tradition on at Michigan. Best of all, it has become a symbol of hope and positivity for his foundation called JJ For The Kids.
Proceeds the foundation gets from merch sales and donations are then given to multiple nonprofits and organizations including C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbor, and the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
“It’s just a subtle way of just, kind of, promoting positivity in this world,” he shares. “Because this world needs it.”
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