It’s game day.

Your buddies are over your house.

Pacing the room with excitement for kickoff.

Running to the fridge to grab another round of beers.

High-fiving when the Patriots score.

Maybe toss the pigskin around the yard at halftime?

Nothing better, right?

Meet Matt

Matt will never be able to do any of these game day routines.

Matt is 8 years old and holds a diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).  SMA is a disease that robs people of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, taking away the ability to walk, eat, or breathe. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants.

SMA sucks, but what this disease has not robbed Matt of is his love, passion and flat-out acumen for all-things-sports.

This is not about SMA.  This is about a kid who smiles through all his challenges and many of those smiles appear on his handsome face when he is watching sports.  Sports, in particular, the New England Patriots, allows Matt that same feeling of excitement we all get when enjoying our favorite teams play the games.  Watching sports puts Matt on a level playing field with the rest of us.  And while Matt can not run around and play catch or high-five his older brother, he gets that same pit of joy in his belly when kickoff/first pitch/tip-off happens.

Matt is 162 Red Sox kid.  An 82 Celtics kid and certainly a 16 (ok, 19) Patriots kind of guy.

This boy is an animal for it all….and a student.

Matt knows football

Here is his quick pre-season rundown he spits out to Mom on a ride to the doctors the other day…

Matt on the Pat’s Season

Matt absorbs sports knowledge like a sponge.  He can literally rattle off every play in order when watching Superbowl 51…because he has literally watched it 51 times (at least).  Being with Matt during a game makes it better.  He doesn’t miss a play, a pitch or a jump shot.

Here is another clip right before kickoff Thursday night…

Matt is “pumped”

He rattled off every NCAA March Madness seed to me last spring.  How about doing your math homework instead, chief?

I caught Matt watching a 2012 NBA finals game on-demand.  Were the Celtics even in that one, weirdo?

I almost told his parents to have him committed for a psychiatric evaluation!

Matt makes you truly appreciate those high-fives and games of catch that he can’t participate in.  In perhaps its’ purest form, Matt demonstrates why we love sports and that his passion can not be taken away from him by any ailment or perceived “disability”.

Matt is the man.  (Did I mention he is my nephew?)

And lastly, if you are ever in a bar debating what was the greatest touchdown in football history, I’ll settle the bet for you, ’cause Matt scored it in the storied Westford Pop Warner E season opener of 2015.