GREENSBURG, LA (WAFB) - A 26-second clip of little Marick Williams Jr. racing to the end zone during his little league game this past Saturday has captured hearts on social media. His coach can be seen helping him while his teammates pause and cheer him on. It’s easily the best play of the week.
“If you would have saw the look on his face when he crossed the goal line, it was amazing,” said Jamar Martin. “Everybody was there to cheer him on. The fans in the stands were cheering him on. The moment was priceless.”
That moment was made possible by Martin, the team’s head coach, who assisted the young player into the end zone. He leads the Hawks little league football team in Greensburg and strives to make sure each of his players, including MJ, is treated with respect, regardless of their circumstance.
“No matter the situation, it’s mind over matter,” Martin said. “Anything you put your mind to, you can do it.”
While he has run through countless plays and drills in his 12 years with the team, Martin says none of them quite stack up to this one.
“I’ve coached a lot of Hawks, but I’ve never coached a warrior until MJ,” he added. “It’s just so great to have someone as special as MJ on my team.”
MJ lives with cerebral palsy. His mother, Kayla Nichols, had him early at 23 weeks and he came into the world weighing just 1 lb 4 oz. Seeing him now though, suited up in the pads, the jersey and helmet, she admits is fulfilling in ways she cannot quite put into words.
“His doctors would say he would have problems walking and he would never walk, but God say a different thing and he’s blessed,” said Nichols.
He uses a walker to get around the gridiron, but that doesn’t hold him back one bit. Out on the field, he’s just one of the guys and is able to push past his limitations and prove himself as a vital part of the team. Football is his fuel and while his condition may have normally counted him out of the roster, Nichols decided to give it a shot. Now, seeing his infectious smile and true passion for the game, she’s glad she did.
“To see him motivated to do what other children do, it makes me happy,” she said.
The 4-year-old may face a few more challenges than most, but his mom and coach believe by tackling them head on rather than let his diagnosis dictate his life, MJ is teaching each of the Hawks an important life lesson that will stay with them long after the final whistle.
“This lets him know that no matter what condition you’re in, you still get treated the same,” Nichols said.