When I was living in Saudi Arabia we would spend a lot of time in front of the TV watching videos. As I was so involved in softball it was only natural that I would be drawn to the movies that had baseball as it theme. Two that I watched numerous times were Field of Dreams and The Natural. Field of Dreams for the most part and The Natural to a lesser extent had mysticism as a core part of the movies plot. Little did I know that I would some day be witnessing a similar experience, only in real life.

Last spring Junior Jaleel Gibson was going through football practice drills at small Union Parish High School in Farmerville, Louisiana. Following a tackle Jaleel didn’t get up. Soon a Helocopter landed to take him to a trauma treatment center in Shreveport. Two days later he was taken off of life support, a broken vertebrate had taken the young man’s life. The coach did not leave the player’s side and he made a promise that the team would win for him.

Jaleel’s family was going to have a hard time putting their son to rest and then a heart felt act of kindness was presented. Andrew Whitworth, starting tackle for the Cincinatti Bengals who prepped at near by West Monroe High School contacted the family and told them that he would be paying all funeral expenses.

The first game of the season had me questioning if the team really had what it took to get to the Louisiana Super Dome and the Louisiana State Championship game. They really didn’t look in syn even though they rolled over their opponent. The second game they lost and I was worried that this season was not to be. Then they won their third game in a torrential rain storm. The Farmers next game was very exciting. It was goign to be televised across the country and the Farmers were going up against Ouachita Christian which had won its’ previous 34 games. It was a broadcast sensation since not only was OCS looking for its 35th straight win but the son of the stars of Duck Dynasty played on the team and periodically was on the show. This was the defining moment for the Farmers 2013 season as they won 42 – 0. They never looked back and every week the team grew stronger and executed better than the week before.

Number 33, Jaleels number, was painted in the middle of the field and his jersey would go everywhere with the team. During the playoffs the Farmers dominated play but arrogance was not a part of the mix for the team. The head of parks and recreation near Baton Rouge sent a letter to the Union Parish Principle commending the team that had just eliminating his high school from the play-offs. He spoke of the high character of the the coaches and players.

Finally the Farmers made it to New Orleans and the mysticism really hit home. His jersey was carried to mid field by the captains for the coin toss. The team conveyed that they felt Jaleel was with them the whole season. People spoke of the fact that this is 2013 and 20 + 13 = 33, Jaleel’s number and this was his year. When the team checked into their hotel they realized they were on 33rd street. Then one of the running backs shaved “33 RIP” into his head. The championship game was a great match and many say that of the ten games this was the best one played. It went into double overtime and the man that had cut the number 33 into his hair scored the winning touch down. And the total points scored by the Farmers ….. 33.

Go to the U TUBE site below and get a good recap of the game from COX Communication. Enjoy.


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