The Short of It
A chance encounter between a youth football coach and a boy who couldn't afford training equipment changes both of their lives.
Indiana dad and coach, Earl Davis, couldn't help but notice 15-year-old Demarco Bailey running down the side of the road with tires chained around his waist. When he stopped to ask the teen what he was doing, Bailey told Davis his family couldn't afford training equipment, so he made his own in the hopes of making the high school football team next year.
"He's so small, and he looks about the same age as my kids that I coach," Davis told Good Morning America. "So I saw him and I was like, 'Wow.' My two boys play football, and they were home asleep. They work hard; I can't say that they don't, but I wanted to take his picture to come home to show them his dedication."
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Davis also decided to share on Facebook about his encounter with the determined boy, writing:
"I rode past this young man jogging. I had to go back and speak with him. I asked him why he was running with that on. He said he said he was working to make northside freshman football team. I asked if he ever played metro and if he knew me,lol all the boys know Coach Earl. HE said no he never played football because his family couldnt afford it,and he didnt know me. He asked if i knew him,and why i stopped. I said 'no i didnt know him, but keeping working and stay focused and determined and more important people then me will know you,and i stopped to motivate you to keep doing what you doing love to see self motivated kids. [sic]"
Davis, who gave Bailey his name and number so he could workout with his boys, continued, "Best part of all, the whole conversation took place while he was still jogging. He said, 'Sorry to be rude, coach, but you gotta drive while I jog. I gotta stay moving.' He didn't wanna stop long enough to take a pic! When a kid wants to succeed as bad as they wanna breathe........then they will be successful."
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The post went viral, garnering 26,000 reactions and over 38,000 shares. Commenters urged Davis to set up a GoFundMe page for the teen so he could get new training gear. Soon, more than $5,000 poured in for Bailey.
But Davis has done more than just raise money for the boy. He has taken the young man under his wing, even meeting with his family. The coach told GMA, "I went back and met his mom and told her about the demand for the GoFundMe. I talked to his dad a couple times. On Sunday we all went out to Dairy Queen. They are so humble. It's a fight to get Marco to even spend the money that was donated for him. He doesn't want to spend it. He doesn't feel like he worked for it. He wants to take the stuff that was donated to him and get some equipment, but then donate the rest to others."
It's amazing how a chance encounter is helping a teen get the support he needs to advance his dreams and also inspiring a coach and father. But Bailey still has an uproad battle; his family is looking for new housing, so it's uncertain where he can try out for a team.
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But no matter what, it's clear this boy's determination is going to take him far. As Davis says, "Demarco is so calm about everything. You never meet a kid like that. He doesn't like the attention, he just wants to keep working out."
Here's hoping we soon find out he has made a football team and is becoming a star player, because there's no doubt he has that potential!