The San Jose Sharks may have lost to the Panthers on Tuesday night, but they won over everyone’s heart by welcoming Sam Tageson, a 17-year-old with a life-threatening heart condition, to practice and skate out onto the ice with the team before the game.
After taking part in the morning skate with the Sharks, Tageson was invited to skate out of the shark head along with the rest of the team in front of tens of thousands of cheering fans. By doing so, he became the first ever non-player skate out of the shark head before a game in franchise history.
Tageson was also shown on the Jumbotron on the bench, waving to the crowd while bursting into tears, overcome with emotion. Words cannot describe that moment, which can be seen below, along with a few other highlights of Tageson’s day with the Sharks:
Tageson, who was born with the heart condition, has played hockey since he was 6 despite doctors advising against it.
Following the game, both Brent Burns and Jason Demers expressed remorse that they couldn’t get the win for Tageson, who is from Martinez, about an hour north of San Jose:
Tough game but amazing to see what hockey can do… Touching night to see Sam fly outta the shark…amazing experience at the tank
— Brent Burns (@Burnzie88) March 19, 2014
Disappointing to lose tonight really wanted that one for Sam Tageson… what a great kid and makes you appreciate what you have! #rolemodel
— jason demers (@jasondemers5) March 19, 2014
Indeed, so many of us often take life for granted, complaining when things go even a little bit wrong. Here is a young man facing a debilitating heart condition, yet still living life to the fullest, doing what he loves and fighting through adversity.
This is a perfect example of how sports can be greater than just winning or losing. Kudos to the Sharks and the Make-A-Wish foundation for organizing this event.