A lump caught in my throat when Shawn told me that. I'm glad he kept talking because I couldn't.
Torrea had called his dad at home in San Antonio late the night before, which wasn't out of the ordinary, but Shawn could tell that something was on his son's mind.
“I read this article,” Torrea said, “and it touched my heart.”
“What was it, Torrea?” Shawn asked.
Torrea told his dad not only about Keegan but also about his buddies who rallied around him.
“That's what teammates do,” Torrea said.
Torrea thought he'd like to visit the boys at school, but his schedule is packed with school and football. Shawn mentioned another option when he learned that Keegan is a huge OU fan — give the boys Torrea's tickets to the Baylor game.
Shawn called me to see if I could help them contact Keegan, a connection that I happily facilitated, but Shawn said that Torrea wanted to do things quietly. Didn't want any press. Didn't want any attention.
But after meeting up with the boys at the end of the game Saturday, I realized that this was another story of kindness that needed to be told.
While Parker had been to several OU games before, it was the first one for Keegan, Colton and Lucas. Accompanied by Keegan's dad, Scott, and Colton's dad, Doug — Brennan Clay also pitched in his player tickets so the group could have enough seats — they arrived early, and they stayed late.
All of them had a blast.
When the game was over, they made their way toward the locker room exit, looking for Torrea.
He was looking for them, too.
Torrea and the boys spent nearly 10 minutes together, talking and taking pictures.
“I've been wanting to meet him,” Torrea said of Keegan. “Since I read his story, I'd been wanting to meet him. I'm glad I got a chance to do that.”
Let that sink in a minute. A Division-I college football player was jazzed about meeting an eighth grader.
How cool is that?
“I guess I kind of have a soft spot for the underdog getting what he deserves,” Torrea said.
Colton's dad said, “For someone to show this blind act of kindness just by reading an article tells you he has characteristics any parent would want for their child. The University of Oklahoma is blessed to have an athlete like Torrea.”
Even better, it's blessed to have a person like Torrea Peterson.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.