A wish transforms the lives of children, their families, and entire communities. A wish was more than a wish for 18-year-old Tyler. His wish to be a referee at a Boise State University football game gave him strength and courage for the future.
Tyler has struggled his entire life with many medical conditions. Just days after birth, Tyler had open heart surgery to correct the holes in his heart. At the age of 12, doctors discovered a new heart condition. He also copes with hearing and vision loss, and thyroid issues. Every day is a struggle for Tyler. But Tyler approaches life with a smile on his face.
Tyler’s wish come true at the Boise State v. BYU Football Game in November. Tyler and his family joined BYU for their team dinner the night before the big game. The players presented him with their True Blue Hero award, a special tradition only a few have received. Tyler also had the unique opportunity to lead the Boise State homecoming parade.
After waving to fans in the parade, he then walked anxiously to The Blue, as he knew his big moment had arrived. You could see the enthusiasm and anticipation exude from his entire body. His one, true, heartfelt wish was coming true; he was ready to meet his idols, the referees. Tyler had the opportunity to work right alongside them for pre-game and the coin toss. He truly felt part of the referee team.
As he walked onto the field with the Boise State Broncos his smile was infectious. He was featured on the jumbotron and received a standing ovation from a nearly-sold out stadium. He departed the field to “work” the replay booth, meet the ESPN announcers, and then got to experience a Boise State victory in his own suite.
The wish far exceeded his expectations and Tyler shared that it was his “favorite days ever”.
The magnitude of this wish experience was truly felt in the quieter moments. As Tyler watched the game from his suite, he was focused on his “job” and was using his whistle, his downs tracker, his flag, and making calls right along with the refs. He barely wanted to eat or leave the room for fear of missing something, as he was truly focused on his work. He spent that evening not just experiencing his wish, but living out his dream to be a real ref. A dream he didn’t think was possible until his “favorite days ever”.