The Blind Snap

You read that title, you immediately thought I either got the title of that film very, very wrong or that you can’t take any more Michael Oher. Good thing I’m not talking to you about Michael Oher. I’m talking to you about Jake Olson. I’m a sucker for a sob story, when serious life issues and sports intersect, Tom Rinaldi pulls on my heart strings and the tears start to flow.

jake olson pete carroll

This kid at USC is no exception, the public’s knowledge of his story started in 2009 when Pete Carroll asked him to be an honorary member of their team that year after hearing about what a major fan Jake was. He wasn’t just any major fan though, he was a major fan who wasn’t about to lose the last bits of his eyesight and go completely blind at 12 years old. If you’re interested in shedding a few tears, here is the original story. About a team that made a boy’s dreams come true, or so they thought…

This is Jake Olson today. He’s on the team. Number 61 to be exajake olson 2ct. A long snapper. A blind long snapper for the USC Trojans, 7 years after first being able to walk on the field as a kid. When the team thought they had done the most they could for this guy by allowing him to be a part of every aspect of their football team. Except be on it. And he made that happen all by himself. He managed to be a long snapper in high school and got into USC. After deciding to attend (like there was ever really a choice) Coach Sarkisian told Olson that he would find a way for Jake to get on the field during the game and I, for one, am looking forward to it.

What is always so interesting to me in situations like this is that somehow it seems like the NCAA unintentionally (or intentionally I don’t know) gets in the way. In this specific case Jake received the “Swim With Mike” scholarship to attend USC. It’s a scholarship that’s given to physically challenged athletes. Technically, because it’s an athletic scholarship the NCAA said Olson couldn’t be considered a walk-on and USC didn’t have any more scholarship spots on their roster. Meaning, as a Freshman, Jake wasn’t going to make it on the team. Until the NCAA changed their tune into a little something sweeter. If I’m in that PR office, I’m telling them to figure something out because this is an opportunity like no other for a kid that’s been in the spotlight for quite some time. Shout out to you, ESPN.

Jake’s Relationship With Shelley Smith

If you aren’t smiling I’m a bit upset with you but how cool is this?? The Media office for the Trojans just had to be jumping for joy after the NCAA cleared this kid to play. This is a comeback story; a kid who grew up as a Trojans fan, lost his eyesight to cancer, got to hang out with the team that he admired his whole life and then because of determination, a whole lot of heart and a deep love for the game he gets to suit up and be one of those guys he admired his whole life.

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