Football fan rallys the team

The crowd cheers in the stands, as the Newbury Park football team begins their next game, yet one dedicated fan offers his encouragement from right along the sidelines of the endzone. Daniel Valdez, freshman, has been a number one fan of his brother, Joel Valdez, senior and player on the football team, for a number of years, including the closing of this year’s season.

Valdez was diagnosed with a condition called spina bifida, also known as split spine, when he was born with a hole in his back damaging the nerves in his lower body. Due to his condition, Valdez is unable to walk, but still participates in various physical activities.

“I’ve played sports before. I did soccer one year, I did baseball last year, and I have tried to do basketball before. So yes I am able to do sports, I just don’t do them as often,” Valdez said.

During the football games, Valdez enjoys encouraging the football team to do their best. “I’m really into it. Pumping up the boys screaming,” Valdez said. His positivity has influenced the entire football team and created a lasting effect of empathy, whether or not Valdez is able to attend.

David Webster, senior, has been friends with the Valdez family since he was a freshman, and continues to treasure the love and support Valdez offers. “He’s always yelling and cheering for the team, and especially his big brother. You can always see him cheering the offense or defense on during the games,” Webster said.

Valdez’ passion for supporting his brother in football has stemmed from when he was in fifth grade, attending his brother’s eighth grade football game. His family bonds by watching football both on television and at the high school.

Valdez’ older brother is inspired each and every time he sees Valdez supporting his football games. “He’s been coming to my games since eighth grade, when I first started playing football,” Valdez said.

When his brother goes off to college, Valdez will miss the Friday night lights out at the stadium, rooting for his favorite player. “It’s always fun. It’s better when we win, but we can’t always win. And, it’s always a joy seeing my brother play. It makes me sad that the last game is coming up,” Valdez said. Throughout the entire season, Valdez was able to uplift the players and give his all in continuing to boost their overall spirit.

 

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