When Trevor Sweeney received an onside kick in practice last week, he had no idea his life was about to change for the better.
The walk-on junior is a leader on Western Michigan University's special teams unit and had tried out for WMU, a team he rooted for as a kid, instead of taking offers from interested Division II schools. When he received the onside kick, he slowly realized that there was actually a letter taped to the ball.
And that's when all the hard work paid off.
Sweeney began unwrapping the letter, and slowly his teammates began to surround him in anticipation of him realizing what was going on.
Sweeney quickly began to get choked up, and after reading the letter aloud to his teammates was thrown into the air in celebration.
The letter came from Western Michigan University Broncos' head coach P.J. Fleck, who told him he exemplified everything about being a great Bronco. Mack was short for words at first, but once he called his mom it was all tears.
"Both of us were crying on the phone," Sweeney told Mlive. "When I first got here I told her I was going to take care of us. I have divorced parents. I told her I was going to take care of her and whatever I had to do I was going to do it."
His coach even said it all should have happened long before...
"It's no secret that he's not going to take 25 reps at running back in a game, but everyone on this team can have some type of influence if you work hard enough," Fleck also told Mlive. "There's not a better reflection of our program and the 'Row The Boat' mentality and heart work and nekton mentality than Trevor Sweeney. It's that simple. He shows it every single day and he's consistent. He's way past deserving of this."
After starting on the scout team, Fleck worked his way into a special teams role and this season will be calling in plays to the offense. At 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, he's a good reminder to any young athletes there that hard work and focus go a long way.