|Elementary school children made up get-well cards for Tulane injured football player Devon Walker. Tulane Athletics!|
NOTE: This was originally posted by Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) over at the Eye On College Basketball. Thanks to our hoops counterpart for pointing out this story.
What does more to warm the heart and reinvigorate optimism like the ardent action of children?
Here's one of the best stories you could end your week with.
Like everyone else in his sport, Tulane basketball coach Ed Conroy is currently in the midst of the open recruiting period. He's on the road, sniffing out the best guys he can get to the program Conroy's remarkably kept sturdy and in relatively good shape despite the initial ominous forecast in a post-Katrina world down in New Orleans.
Due to the hectic nature of this in-home/at-school visiting period combined with recruits coming for official visits to campus, and the start of school around the country, this is actually the busiest and most stressful time of the year for most hoops coaches.
All the craziness turned out to be pretty worth it for Conroy this week, though, and ironically basketball had nothing to do with it. Conroy visited El Paso, Texas, Monday to see a certain player he hopes to lure to the school. Coaches can't speak on the record about players they are recruiting.! His trip to an El Paso K-12 school* to see this prospect turns into something bigger than a recruiting jaunt.
What does he find? An invitation to a fourth-grade classroom full of kids who want to see him. Why? Because the kids there have completed a quick but meaningful project just minutes earlier. The fruits of that fun and heartfelt labor are obviously in the picture above: a genuine bundle of get-well cards for Tulane football safety Devon Walker, who was taken away by ambulance after fracturing his spine last Saturday during the team's game against Tulsa.
Just so happened the children -- who have no connection to Tulane or Conroy or the football team -- knew Conroy would be in town for the recruiting interlope and wanted to do their part to help Walker feel even a little better. The story remarkably ties together so well because Conroy himself actually once suffered an injury -- playing football -- that was eerily similar to Walker's.
"It was unbelievable to see what these kids did," Conroy said. "It blew me away."
Inside the cards are everything from the get-well messages you'd expect, to Bible verses, to amateur drawings of football games and whatever else ran through those kids' minds. Pretty terrific all around. Here's the group shot.
|Grade-schoolers with their get-well cards for Devon Walker. In other words: the world is still a great place. Tulane Athletics!|
*Conroy and Tulane also cannot give me the name of the school due to incredibly ridiculous NCAA rules, so I'm trying to deduce which specific school this was in order to give the kids/teacher/school the pub they deserve.