"Pass It to the Right, Coach".

from Michael Josephson
I like sports, but it's hard not to smile in amusement when people love it so much it becomes a central theme in their lives. So it is with an intensely loyal Notre Dame fan named Michael Mazurkiewicz who named his first son Rockne after legendary coach Knute Rockne, and his second son Montana after quarterback Joe Montana.

Word got to Notre Dame's football coach Charlie Weis that 10-year-old Montana Mazurkiewicz was dying of an inoperable brain tumor. Without publicity, this compassionate father of two (including a 10-year-old who suffers from a disorder similar to autism) went to visit the boy.

Ironically, Weis roomed with Joe Montana in college, so he told the thrilled young boy stories and gave him a football. Before leaving, Weis asked Montana if he wanted to call the first play in the next game. Montana lit up at this unbelievable honor and said, "Yeah, coach. Throw it to the right."

Weis dedicated the game to Montana and told his team about the promise. "I just wanted our players to realize they represent a lot of people."

In a twist of fate, the first time Notre Dame got the ball they were on their own one yard line -- not a normal passing situation. But Charlie Weis teaches more than football. He also teaches love, honor and the importance of keeping one's word. So when his quarterback asked, "What should we do?" this preeminent teacher-coach said, "We have no choice. Pass right." And they did -- a completed pass for a first down.

The Mazurkiewicz family, huddled around the television, broke into tears when they saw this tribute to the little boy who had died the day before the game.

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