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Life is Bigger Than Football

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Blind long snapper, Jake Olson, gets his shot in a game

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sports do many things for our society. Sports provide outlets for youth, provide entertainment, gives kids heroes to look up to, and show us inspiration. On Saturday, the USC Trojans gave us all a reason to love sports.

Jake Olson, a USC long snapper, who has been blind since the age of 12 got his shot at playing time yesterday against Western Michigan. He took full advantage of the opportunity.

Olson put a perfect snap to the USC holder and the Trojan kicker put the ball right through the uprights for the final point for the Trojans. Usually the crowd celebrates the kick being made, but on Saturday that was the least of their concerns.

Jake Olson did his job for the Trojans and even though he couldn’t see the ball go between the uprights, he felt the slaps on the back, the taps on his helmet, and heard the crowd at the L.A. Coliseum cheer on his accomplishment.

It turns out Jake may have seen everything take place. Sometimes you don’t need to see something visually to see it. If that makes sense.

“If you can’t see how God works things out, then I think you’re the blind one.” Jake Olson said. (L.A. Times)

Jake might be right on that one.

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During a game in which the highly ranked Trojans were getting all they wanted from a very motivated Western Michigan team, Jake Olson put an exclamation on an exciting afternoon.

This was an afternoon that was in the works since for the past eight years. Ever since Jake Olson fell victim to retinoblastoma, an extremely rare form of cancer, and had to have both his eyes taken out he has been a part of the USC football program. At the age of 12 he was taken in by Pete Carrol and the USC family.

Where he was going to go to college was never in question. He joined the Trojans as a walk-on and then he found himself roughly three years later over the ball during a game, ball in his hands, the crowd sensing what was about to happen, and then fulfilling a lifetime dream.

The USC sideline joined in the celebration once that football sailed through the uprights and the inspiration it provided was enormous. From the Trojan fans to the USC coaching to the media in attendance the meaning of Jake Olson’s long snap was beyond words.

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Trojan head coach Clay Helton tried to sum up the momentous occasion as best he could.

“What a pressure player. Is that not a perfect snap at that moment? It’s beyond words.” Helton said.

Special teams coach for the Trojans, John Baxter summed it up.

“Some things are just bigger than the game.” Baxter said.

Football is football.

Life is bigger than football.

Steve Sarkisian, current offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons saw this day coming way back when Olson joined the team 2015 and he was the coach of USC.

“Someday he’s going to snap in a game for us. When? I don’t know. But it will happen. When that day comes, it will be awesome.” Sarkisian said. (npr.org)

Guess what?

It was beyond awesome.