STAMFORD, Conn. -- A St. Luke’s football player from Stamford has been nominated for the “Heart of a Giant” award in the first week of the scholastic season.
Ryan Murphy, a senior at the New Canaan school, was nominated for the awarded presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants. It recognizes high school football players within the Tri-State area that demonstrate unparalleled work ethic and passion for the game.
High school coaches from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut can nominate athletes for a chance to win a $5,000 equipment grant. Murphy is one of 10 nominees in Week 1. Readers can vote for Murphy by clicking here .
On the Heart of a Giant website , Murphy talked about how he overcame adversity by playing football and pointed to his grandparents. “What many people don’t know about me is that I live with my maternal grandparents,’’ Murphy wrote. “My grandfather suffers from heart failure and other medical complications. My parents help my aging grandmother with his medical care and the difficulties of day-to-day living. He has had four heart attacks since I was born, and I am not unaccustomed to waking up at the wee hours of the morning to sirens and the hurried footsteps of rescue personnel. Due to his illness, he is unable to leave the house often, and few people from my school community have met him. Despite this, we have a very close relationship. In fact, it was my grandfather who inspired me to first play football in fifth grade.
“As a young man, he played offensive line just as I do,’’ Murphy continued. “ In many ways, I feel as if I am continuing his legacy on the gridiron. Unfortunately, his condition has deteriorated over time, and he has not been able to come to any of my high school games. Even though he is physically unable to support me on the field, I know that he is with me in spirit during games. When I return home from the game, he always asks the same question no matter the score or my personal performance, “Did you leave your heart on the field?” Every time I suit up for a game, I know that I must leave my heart on the field because, sadly, my grandpa might not be there to ask me that question next week. I know that while he wants me to succeed, what he truly values is my effort. He has taught me that the only thing that can never be recovered is time. Once a moment has passed, it can never be reclaimed. The same applies to every game, every drive, and every snap. Playing football has allowed me to live by my grandpa’s advice each day and to make him proud of me and my effort.”
New nominees are announced each week. Six finalists receive a $1,500 equipment grant for their high school football programs.
St. Luke’s plays its first official game on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Canterbury School in New Milford.
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