You don’t need to have seen an Australian Rules Football game to appreciate this story. If you understand the term “mates” that’s good enough.
Mark Smith, 13, and Jarryd Haines, 12, have always loved playing football and their hometown Sydney Swans. According to The Guardian, Mark was diagnosed with brain and spine cancer at age 9, and had to endure difficult medical treatments. No matter how exhausted he was, Mark always looked forward to the next AFL game.
Mark is now blind and has diminished hearing, but his love for the game and his friendship with Jarryd remains the same. When they go to the stadium for games, Mark listens to a live stream that compliments the roar of the crowd. However, in the second quarter of a recent game the stream died. So Jarryd took up play-by-play duties and commentated the rest of the game for Mark.
Journalist Jonathan Drennan was sitting nearby and tweeted about the touching moment. Tweeting, “Heard a beautiful thing at @sydneyswans game tonight. A boy was giving his blind brother a brilliant play by play commentary all game long.”
When the Sydney Swans found out, they asked their fans on social media to help find the boys. They eventually found them, and rolled out the red carpet for Mark and Jarryd -- inviting them to a special day at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Players greeted them with applause, gave them jerseys, and the boys were able to take the field to kick and toss the ball around. Mark and Jarryd were even invited to the Swans next game where the largest crowd of the season roared as their names were put on the big screen. Player Luke Parker, playing his 150th game for the Swans, took Mark by the hand and escorted him onto the field. And once again, Jarryd commentated the game for Mark as Sydney beat Essendon.
Watch the video to see how these mates make it more than a game.