Wow. That’s about all you can come up with after watching the video Bristol Palin featured on her blog this week. It’s the story of two brothers, Conner and Cayden Long. Back in 2012, the boys were named Sports Illustrated Kids’ SportsKids of the Year, but they may as well lock up the award for a lifetime.
At the time of receiving the honor Conner was 9 and Cayden was 7. Just like so many American children, the boys are sports nuts, but Cayden can’t do everything his big brother can do. That’s because Cayden has hypertonic cerebral palsy. He can’t walk or talk on his own. Enter Conner.
Wise past his years, Conner came up with an incredible idea to spend more time with Cayden and in the process give his little brother a chance to compete in sports just like other kids. Cayden partnered up with Conner in triathlons. Conner swims while pulling Cayden in a raft, bikes with Cayden towed behind him in a trailer, and pushes the trailer when they run. It is amazing.
Conner’s idea in part was inspired by something that really ticks him off. He got sick and tired of hearing people call his bother the”R-word.” “It doesn’t matter what he looks like on the outside,” Connor said in the ABC video featured on Bristol’s Blog. “It matters what’s on the inside. “He still has regular feelings like we do. He understands what you say about him.”
Bristol Palin introduced the video of the Longs in her blog titled, “Two Brothers Who Left LeBron James Speechless,” by writing that, “You don’t have to be a Miami Heat fan to appreciate this!”
She is right. It’s not about team loyalty. It’s about love. These brothers exemplify that as well as anyone.
After the Long brothers received their award at the Sports Illustrated banquet, LeBron James spoke and admitted if the video went any longer he’d be in tears. He also promised to show the video to his sons and he invited the Longs to a Heat game. Back in April, James came through, hosting the Long family when the Heat took on Philadelphia at the American Airlines Arena.
Every life has purpose. Every life matters. The Longs happen to be recognized publicly, but there are brothers and sisters all over our exceptional nation who are demonstrating the care and love that Conner and Cayden share. Bristol Palin knows this firsthand.
When Cayden was born, some people told his parents to put him in a home because of his condition. They did just that. A normal, loving, all-American home in Tennessee. The Long residence. Cayden is loving life. He is a son and a brother. He’s a sports fan and an athlete. He’s just like any other kid. Cayden just happens to know LeBron James.