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Oklahoma football: Grandmother's lessons help Roy Finch persevere

Injury and a position change haven't dampened the spirit of Sooner junior
By Stephanie Kuzydym Published: August 24, 2012


photo - Oklahoma's Roy Finch (22) takes a handoff from Oklahoma's Landry Jones (12) during the Insight Bowl college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Roy Finch (22) takes a handoff from Oklahoma's Landry Jones (12) during the Insight Bowl college football game between the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

“I know I'm a very athletic person and I know I can make plays on the field, but it's not just about me,” Finch said after a recent practice. “It's about the team and us getting to the championship. I really want to be in Miami this year, and I'm just going to do everything in my power to get us there.”

Despite all that's happened to him — going from the top of the running back class to being injured to taking on a new role with the team — Roy remains positive through what his grandmother taught him.

Nila Kasitati watches No. 22 smile from under his helmet and wonders why Roy always walks around practice so happy. Brennan Clay finds him a source of motivation. And the best way to find Roy's inspiration for fans is on Twitter.

“I just try to tweet things very positive because there's so much negativity out there, so why be with the norm,” Finch said.

He learned that from his grandmother, too. She raised him to be a plus in this world, not a minus. He'd attend church with her on Sundays and most midweek services. He went to Bible study school and learned the Bible verse his grandmother taught every one of her children and grandchildren: John 3:16.

When game day comes around this year, Roy will have to find a few minutes many hours before kickoff. Sometimes Doris gets a quick phone call. She knows Roy has sneaked off to call her before the coaches take the players' cellphones away.

Then she'll wait for the game, to watch and pray that her grandson and his teammates and the other team stay protected from harm.

Then she'll watch as her grandson breaks free into the end zone, raises his finger and points to the sky.

And in that moment, they'll both thank the man above.