“I remember him, after we went back to our tent, placing his head on my shoulder and saying ‘I'm sorry. I let you, my teammates and myself down,'” Bell said. “I told him that when he goes to OSU, to remember that feeling right now and to never let him feel like he let his teammates down — to always give it his all. And he has.”
Blackmon said he never really thought about the memories that were being discussed. He was just being a kid. But now he understands his role as an example for younger kids to look up to.
Any reminder he needed was right there with 9-year-old Olivia Hamilton in the audience. Hamilton, who has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia for two years, is one of Blackmon's biggest fans. Olivia's story was documented in The Oklahoman in October.
Olivia's mother, Jennifer, said Blackmon is her daughter's hero.
“It does mean a lot to me to see all these kids here,” Blackmon said. “I just hope I can give them a positive role model to look up to. The kids help me remember why this is so much fun.”