“You coming to the Jonesville meet tonight Jess?” Dave Pratt had asked me through text. My family had been unable to attend any meets this year due to all the traveling trying to figure out the best route for Zayne. And then once the words BRAIN SURGERY were said I frankly lost my marbles and started triple booking myself. I looked at my calendar and realized we were absolutely free! I talked with my hubby and after cheer practice all four of us loaded up and started the drive. I was excited!! There is just something about watching and supporting these boys. Last year when the news of Zayne was fresh I would bring him up to the wrestling room and none of those boys would hesitate in giving Z a high 5!! Back then Zayne was pretty shy and overall just didn’t feel good being on chemo. But he would still talk about the wrestlers and He and his brother Ayden would try and duplicate what they saw. Having the chance to go to Alma a couple weeks ago we were able to sit with “Coach” (Pratt) You wouldn’t know it but as his mom I can say Zayne was geeked. He was the lucky one that got to sit right next to coach and at one point Zayne got up to come over and ask me something and when he went back to sit down he realized his brother Ayden had sat in his spot. His little eyebrows bunched together as he very enthusiastically told his brother that HE wanted to sit by coach. Ayden looked over at me, shrugged his little shoulders and scooted down. Z once again had a smile on his face as he plopped his chunky butt down next to Coach!
Jake Cooper happened to be sitting behind us and Z was beside himself. Jake would tap on his shoulder and Zayne would look over at me all excited not knowing what to do. After a couple taps from Jake, Zayne leaned over to me and said “Mom…Jake the wrestler is touching me!!” His eyes were bright and both hands covered his mouth in excitement. As a mom it’s the small things that make your heart melt. From then on I heard about “Jake the wrestler!” Ayden and Zayne would wrestle and Zayne’s wrestling name would be Jake.
And not only would they wrestle, they would have to go get their Springport wrestling shorts on and a Z shirt just like the “REAL” wrestlers wore He even named his teddy bear after Jake when we had to go the ER. The hospital staff gave him a stuffed bear and when I asked him what his name would be Zayne said “Jake!”
And coming back to last night, Pratt had told me that Jonesville bought Z shirts. My mind interpreted this as fans in Jonesville wanted to support my boy by wearing a shirt…I was absolutely unaware that Jonesville had made their Team Shirt Z shirts…We were shocked!!! We no sooner sat down last night and saw Jonesville walk out of the locker room all wearing the shirt that I have seen so many times. The shirt that not only reminds me of how strong my little boy is but how big of an army we really do have on our side!! And for our opposing team to be wearing them was just so inspiring. We may be competing in sports but we support those in need as one. I mean how self-less. It was amazing to say the least!! A big thanks to Jonesville from the Z Family!!
Towards the end of the meet Zayne looked around. “Mom….wear did Jake go?” I looked around and pointed him out. “Yea…I like him. Do you like him mom?” He was so adorable in this moment. He hasn’t been on chemo since December and I am finally starting to see the little boy he used to be. Happy, caring and social. “Yea I like Jake.” I said with a smile on my face. My son bounced his head up and down and said “Yea he’s pretty great.” In his tough voice. Little do all these wrestlers know how much they have touched the life of a 4 yr. old.
As I sat there last night watching those boys wrestle and having them come up to give Zayne a big high 5, I couldn’t help but notice the man in the background. Pratt.
A wave of pride washed over me. This man started it all. After my sister spent a day talking with my cousin who designed the Z logo, Jamie knew she wanted to put I AM on the front of the shirts. She wanted us as a family to be able to fill in the blank with whatever was needed for the days to come.
Pratt no sooner saw the shirts and made a call to my sister asking if he could make that shirt the team shirt for the Springport Wrestling Team. This man with an incredible heart has stood so tall and strong for a boy he didn’t even know.
Over the past year my family has become close with his. He has almost taken Z on as his own burden. And not a Tuesday went by that I didn’t get a text from telling me he was with me. Telling me I’m strong. Reminding me of all the support we have. He would text me of all the Z shirts that covered the school on a Tuesday reinforcing that the army was ready. He would stop by the house and give my boys wrestling medals, Team shirts, and team shorts. He has gone out of his way to make Zayne and my family a priority. He is someone that has forever left his thumbprint on my family. I just couldn’t help but sit there last night and feel such an amazing amount of gratitude for this man. Dave, there will never be a way to say thankyou. What you have done and continue to do for my family is something that words can’t describe. We are truly beyond blessed by you and your family!! Love you all!!
Below is a youtube Link of Zayne talking about “Jake the Wrestler’