The concept that all facets of a sports team make up a family isn’t something new. From the individual players, to spectators, to the guy who washes the towels, collegiate sports form their own communities and support each other as such, current student or alumnus.
Yet, it’s still a happy reminder when a team rallies to show extra love to a member of that family.
Such is the case with the Cal Berkeley football team who gave Owen Provencher, a six-year-old who was born with and battles every day with cystic fibrosis, a day as a member of the Golden Bears.
It is instances like this that never fail to give us the warm-and-fuzzies.
First-grader Owen is in fact part of the Cal family, as his father Gary is a 2003 Cal grad. The father decided to set up a trip for his son to his alma mater after seeing a social media post about “The Bear Cut,” the team’s super swanky in-house barbershop that keeps the players coifs extra fresh.
But the trip became more that just a hair cut and a little locker-room tour–although those things were certainly included.
Owen got to spend several hours with members of the Bears organization, including a meeting with head coach Sonny Dykes as well as team staff. What followed was some quality time playing video games in the players lounge, lifting weights, and even on-field time with quarterback Jared Goff, linebacker Raymond Davison and freshman QB Chase Forrest.
Gary told Kyle McRae of Cal Athletics: “My favorite part was just watching Owen’s interactions with the guys and seeing the crowd around him and start jumping up and down when he was lifting weights. It was that way everywhere he went–on the field, in the players’ lounge, in the locker-room. They were just so into having Owen there and making him feel like a part of the team. It was awesome.”
That level of “awesome” was enough to put Owen’s daily trials and tribulations of living with cystic fibrosis on the back burner for a day.
The degenerative disease, which causes life-shortening respiratory and digestive problems, puts the Westlake Charter School first grader in the hospital a few times a year. In order to cut down on visits, the family tells McRae, Owen undergoes daily rounds of therapy–a daily grind that affects parents Gary and Heidi as well as Owen himself.
Gary elborated: “Cystic fibrosis is always on our mind. There have been two times in my life that I have seen Owen when he is not thinking about it, and one of those was when he was on the field at Cal.”
For more information on cystic fibrosis and how to contribute to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, please visit cff.org. For Owen’s full story, please visit CalBears.com
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Cal Athletics