As far as internet videos go, there are generally three categories that never fail to bring me to tears. One, soldier homecomings – especially ones that involve unsuspecting families at halftimes of sporting events; two, deaf babies who hear their parent’s voice for the first time after receiving cochlear implants; and three, walk-ons being awarded scholarships.
Of these three, the walk-ons are probably the least significant but they continually tug at my heart strings for a couple of reasons. First of all, this was me 15 years ago. I was a too small/too slow high school athlete who hustled his way onto a college football team as a non-scholarship athlete. My roommates would sarcastically chant “Rudy” any time I entered or exited a room. We walk-ons assume all of the burdens and responsibilities of scholarship athletes with very few of the perks. We slog through practices, film sessions, work-outs and meetings, all on our own dime, purely for the love of the game and the good of the team. We’ll never see the field and never hear our names called, but it’s the experience that’s worth the grind.
Secondly, on those rare occasions when walk-ons are awarded scholarships, I believe it taps into something spiritual (such is the nature of good news), something well beyond college finances and amateur athletics. Every time we see a kid who has existed on the fridges of the athletic department, get handed a letter informing him that his college is now paid for, we see a glimpse of the gospel. We are witnessing the outsider becoming an insider, the stranger being welcomed in, the peripheral being treated as primary.

These walk-ons are not promoted and valued because of their talent and accomplishment; in fact, it is exactly their lack of talent and accomplishment that creates the context for this grace in the first place. That’s what makes grace amazing.
Gets me every time.
“You were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Eph 2:12-13

Bubby Bryan, DOC
Uttermost Sports