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From B1G, SEC, Etc., Happy Birthday, Jack!
Coach Bo Pelini presented the Spring's Game's game ball to record-setting Jack Hoffman.
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Courtesy: NU Media Relations
09/26/2013
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Randy York’s N-Sider

Happy 8th birthday, Jack Hoffman! As your hometown of Atkinson, Neb., gears up to celebrate National Pediatric Brain Cancer Awareness Day with Governor Dave Heineman, Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch and former Husker Matt Davison, The N-Sider is sending a unique birthday card – feedback from fans across the country to prove how unmatched and motivating your story is to college football fans from the Big Ten to the SEC and others across state lines. Last April, we wrote a blog that showcased your international impact and people’s keen appreciation for your bravery, leadership and humility. Now we’re hoping tonight’s 4-hour fundraising event in your local Community Center is a huge success that will benefit kids with pediatric brain cancer everywhere.

We just want you to know how much Nebraska Athletics and the state of Nebraska embrace you and how this whole wild, wacky world of college football loves you – from top-ranked Alabama and Big Ten newcomers Rutgers and Maryland to a pair of former rivals  OU and Texas. On this special day honoring you and your spunky personality, we also want to congratulate your parents for their endless energy and your two sisters for their tender love of their big brother.

Jack Inspires Tide, Dawg, Hog and Gator Fans

We don’t want to bore anyone with long emails, but know this: I have personally received five emails each from Alabama fans and Georgia fans,  four emails each from Florida fans and Arkansas fans, and three emails from Tennessee fans. Here’s just a sampling of their combined comments … what your program did for Jack Hoffman restores my faith and belief in college athletics and even more importantly, the athletes themselves, and I live in the heart of SEC countrythanks for taking the time to show “the kid” what it feels like to score a TD for the Huskers in front of 60,000 fans … Little Jack Hoffman has a memory he will never forget … we hear so much of the negative in sports and very little of the positive … way to go Huskers! … I guarantee you that every Husker fan I see from now on, I will shake their hand and ask about Jack Hoffman – what an inspiration to us all! … I’m a big Gator fan, deep in SEC country and if this story and this video doesn’t bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face, you have no soul … please add my thumbs up, best wishes and a big hug for Jack … what an outpouring of emotion for Jack … Go Huskers! Run … Jack Run!!! … real goose bumps watching every step of the run … I’ve never stepped foot in Nebraska, but after watching Jack I hope I get there someday … I’m a ‘Bama fan from way back but have respected Nebraska from Devaney to Osborne and will never forget Rich Glover manhandling our middle guard in a national championship game … Glover was never blocked and Jack didn’t need a block either … all he needed was the cheers from people with tears in their eyes … there were certainly tears from me and I didn’t see the run until a few days later ...

The N-Sider also received three personal emails apiece from Texas fans and Oklahoma fans, and they could not have been more inspired by Jack Hoffman. Here's a sampling of their thoughts: I’m OU by birth (much to my husband’s dismay!), sort of Texas because I live here and sort of A&M because I have a son going to school there, and I know fans from all three schools who loved what y’all did for Jack Hoffman … obviously, I am now also a Husker – for life … what an awesome thing to see … when we saw that little guy run that ball back for a touchdown, I had to rewind it and watch it several times, and every time I watched it, it got even better and then tears came to my eyes, good tears ... that run should inspire people everywhere to start thinking outside the box and take that one extra step to make a kid or a group of kids the happiest they've ever been ... thank you for fulfilling the wish of a young boy and making it come true ... thank you for showing the good side of college athletics ...

Hoffman Popular with Big Ten Schools, Others

We also received positive feedback from Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Penn State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, UCLA, UMass, Oklahoma State and Kansas fans as well as Maryland and Rutgers fans … Bravo, Bravo, Bravo … literally broke down in tears watching that run … I have never been a Nebraska fan and am now … what an unbelievable moment … please pass along my respect to all the wonderful “men” on your football team … thanks for making a brave 7-year-old’s dream come true … cried watching … class act … for the first time ever, I could not swallow just watching the 10 o’clock news … kudos to Coach Pelini and all of Husker Nation … absolutely the most awesome act of kindness I have ever seen in my life … I am not a Husker fan, have no ties to your school and have always been indifferent about your success, but not anymore … this really paints Nebraska in a very positive light … I bleed orange but respect red … thanks for giving this kid a memory of a lifetime … deeply moved … the Huskers have shown the world what kindness and thoughtfulness can do … I’m going to buy a Nebraska sweatshirt in Jack’s honor and wear it proudly and repeat this story to anyone who will listen.

Has the Heart, Humility of Small-Town Nebraskans

We could go on and on with dozens and dozens of equally compelling comments, but we want to make sure we point out there were hundreds and hundreds of non-Nebraska fans. We just pinpointed the ones who made sure we understood they were crossing over into different territory to celebrate this inspiring moment. Besides, we need to finish this N-Sider with the three most important words that count … HAPPY … BIRTHDAY … JACK! … You may have a global reputation, received an invitation to the White House, won an inspirational ESPY Award, set a  Nebraska Spring Game rushing record, have strong bonds with Bo Pelini and Rex Burkhead, plus your own Upper Deck trading cards. But you also have the heart and the humility of a small-town Nebraskan, and that’s why you inspire every single one of us. We didn’t know what to get you for your birthday, so we decided to wrap up a super duper awesome gift that 8.2 million of your most loyal fans have already seen and undoubtedly would like to see one more time … in your honor, of course ... so go ahead and watch it again. "Run, Jack, Run!’”

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