Kobe Bryant once said:  “Sports are such a great teacher. I think of everything they’ve taught me: camaraderie, humility, how to resolve differences.”  And here’s some home-grown proof:  Mississauga’s Lorne Park Secondary School football team.

A chance encounter with a 4-year-old inspired the team to make the boy—who’s had a chronic kidney condition since birth— an honorary team member, and take this football-enamoured kid under their wing.

The Lorne Park Spartans were in Windsor for the University of Windsor’s Alumni Field last September.  Brothers Brady and Noah Melanson and their parents were staying at the same hotel as the team.  The Melansons were staying there out of necessity— a record rainfall in the area flooded their family home.

Brady and his brother saw the players in the lobby of the hotel, and were completely awe-struck by them.  Especially by their uniforms, according to their mother, Stephanie Melanson.

After the players returned to the hotel from the game, they learned about the family situation and Brady’s health struggle, and wanted to do something to help.  They went up to his room, and spent time with the boy and his brother, taking pictures with them, and presenting them with Lorne Park jerseys.  Apparently, the boys have not taken off those jerseys since that memorable meeting.

But that’s not all.  The team and the Melansons continued to stay in touch.   In November, after the team won the Peel championship and were to play at the OFSAA Central Bowl in Hamilton, Lorne Park’s booster club helped pay for the family’s trip to Hamilton to see the game.  Noah and Brady got to go on the field for some pre-game ceremonies and the celebration.  Imagine the joy this chance must have given these two little football fans!

On February 2, Brady underwent ureteric reimplantation surgery to repair his bladder and kidneys in London, ON.  Before the surgery, the team posted this on the Facebook:

Sending out thoughts and prayers today for our youngest honorary Spartan. 4yr old Brady Melanson is having intensive surgery in London to repair his bladder and kidneys. Coach Isaiah and Coach Erixon are planning to go tomorrow to visit and bring a gift from our Spartan families. If any players want to join them, please contact Coach Isaiah (DM us if you need his number). #getwellsoon #prayersforbrady #SpartanFam

The Lorne Park Spartans have had a good year.  Both the seniors and juniors were Region of Peel champions.  The seniors won the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Central Bowl, and the juniors were Metro Bowl champions.  But, arguably, taking the 4-year-old Brady Melanson under their wing, has got to be one of the brightest feathers in their helmets!