Baseball season has begun, which has me again thinking about where was and where he now is.
Before cancer, another player was watching Harrison play shortstop and remarked, “What Derek Jeter is to the Yankees, Harrison McKinion is to his team.” It was a tremendous compliment for a nine year old kid.
But cancer has put Harrison in another role on his teams, I believe: Tim Tebow.
To get the comparison, one need only recall the Florida Gators’ loss to the Ole Miss Rebels in 2007. After the loss Tebow came to the post-game presser and gave his famous speech in which he took the blame for the loss and expressed and unwavering determination to never let his team lose again.
The Gators went on the win the National Championship behind Tim Tebow’s leadership.
What Derek Jeter is to the Yankees, Harrison McKinion is to his team.Player on an opposing team
Now I am not saying Harrison is the athletic equivalent of Tim Tebow. Nor am I saying he has the same leadership abilities at Tebow.
But Harrison is a natural leader. In football he was the quarterback. He moved players around, putting them in the right position, coaching them on the field. As an eight year old.
He’s always been the shortstop. The leader both by his actions and with his words. And if how he’s played for his middle school team so far is any indication, he’ll continue to make plays for his team.
Now, with cancer, Harrison plays an even more important role on his teams. Whether he is the most athletic player or the most talented player or the most gifted player is debatable. Other kids are just as good, and better. Cancer has allowed everyone else to catch up with him.
But Harrison refuses to lose. His determination to fight, claw, scrape his way forward reminds me of all the accounts I’ve read about Tebow. While others may question his abilities due to cancer, Harrison just plows ahead. Again and again and again; refusing to settle for personal or team defeat.
I don’t know if Harrison will grow up to be an athlete (or if he will grow up at all, unfortunately). But I know this, every day that he is here he will live with determination and confidence. The day may come when his body cannot function as well as it does now, or when no one wants him because they doubt his abilities. But until then, Harrison will start the days he has remaining facing forward, making the most of every opportunity he has.
And, much like Tim Tebow, he will never let his teammates down. They will always get his best. Whether he is sick, fatigued, suffering from joint pain, fighting headaches, or pressed on every side, he will fight.
I wish you could have seen him play before cancer wrecked his body. I pray that one day he will overcome the side effects of the treatment. But even if he never does, you’ll never know it from watching his face. You see a kid who will give everything he has, knowing that God is his strength. He will press on to the prize set before him in Jesus Christ and model a “never give up” attitude.