The Fist Bump Kid And His Love For Sports
Little Liam is 9 years old. He is a huge fan of ice hockey. To be more specific, he is a patron of the Boston Bruins. In fact, ask any Bruins fan or player, and he will admit that Little Liam is the no. 1 Bruins fan. They all call him the ‘fist bump kid’. Liam has a fan-following of his own, and he has his own tiny jersey, hockey stick, and goal post at home. He even has his own sports card!
The Fist Bump Kid And His Love For Sports
So what makes Liam so special? Well, for one, Liam has a great passion for the sport, and is always there to cheer for his favourite team. Besides, he has an infectious smile and happiness within him. But more importantly, little Liam Fitzgerald is a fighter.
When Liam was born in 2006, the doctors were shocked to see him. He looked like he looked wounded and bruised. Liam was diagnosed with Down syndrome, a condition in which the affected person has one extra copy of chromosome, be it full or partial, and it leads a person to have delayed growth, development and learning, alongside physical symptoms. It is more than obvious that a person born with such a condition has to face several hardships in life. To make matters worse for this ever-smiling child, Liam had a new challenge to face at the tender age of three: Leukemia. The winter of 2009 saw Liam entering a four year treatment program. This meant that he would have to take aggressive chemotherapy.
As his parents watched helplessly, Liam got poked and prodded with needles and tubes, all for his treatment. His father, who was always very proud of the little boy, saw an extraordinary toughness as the little boy breathed and focused during his treatment process. Finally at the age of 7, Liam took his final dose of chemo.
As Liam became strong again, there was a new development in him, which everyone assumed came from his athletic half-brother, Nick: he showed great interest in the sport of ice hockey. All of a sudden, Liam’s life started revolving around hockey, as he started playing the sport at home, and watched games with his brother. Something about all the adrenaline-pumping action of a hockey match attracted Liam greatly, even though people with syndrome. It was ironical that a person with a syndrome that is generally marked by slowness in some respects was so much into a sport that is all about action all the time.
Hockey became Liam’s life, so much so that he decided to dress up as a player in the Halloween of 2013. But not just any player – he had someone in mind. He wanted to be defenseman Adam McQuaid. That year, McQuaid was injured. In fact, in the world of ice hockey, he wasn’t even considered a huge star, with an average of two goals per season. But he had stolen Liam’s heart.
When Liam’s photographs, dressed as McQuaid, were uploaded on social media, it caught the attention of the Bruins player’s sister, and McQuain was quite taken aback, and decided to meet him. Later that season, the Bruins arranged for Liam to attend a game, where he was named the fan of the game. After the match, he went to meet his hero, who was surprised to see Liam so comfortable. When asked how he feels about McQuain, Liam has just one word: “happy”.
Liam had established a special kind of bond with the sport. But this bond became public in November 2014. While attending a match, Liam saw himself on the Jumbotron. Liam is quite a star in his own rights and imagination, and immediately started blowing kisses. He had come down early to get fist bumps from the players at the tunnel. The director of Public Relations, on recognizing him, and helped him move to the bench for a better view. And as he sat there, his fist out, and every player passing by gave him a fist bump.
The next day, his mother found a video online which had captured the moment when Liam got fist bumps from the Bruins. Thus, The Fist Bump Kid was born. It was cuteness overload, and within a day, the video had over 5 million views! Whether it was because of the cuteness, or Liam’s reaction when Campbell struck him a little too hard, Liam became an instant star.
Three weeks after the video went viral, a very happy Liam headed back to the Garden for another match, and sat on the bench again, interacting with the players and fist-bumping them – except Campbell, lest he would get hit to hard again. But once the game was over, it was an even bigger moment for Liam. He got to meet all his favorite players! He hugged then, talked to them, and even got the chance to hit Campbell hard enough with his tiny fists. As for McQuain who was injured, Liam gave him a hug and a card to wish for his return, and even wrote on his cast of plaster.
Liam is special, and he has a unique comfort with all the fame and recognition. His level of ease in talking to head Coach Claude Julien, or in lifting his cap in response to the cheers and claps of the other people who saw him and recognized him immediately was remarkable. To make Liam’s joy and imagination real, he was also given a special gift: he got his very own Upper Deck Hockey Card!
The little boy has fought and struggled throughout is tiny life, and chances are, he will have to struggle even more. But, Liam has not lost his joy, and has not let his personality change. That’s what makes him a very special kid. What makes him even more special is that he finally proved it to the entire world that sports has a special power to bring happiness to people. This happiness of sports has the capability to bring out the best from everyone, and helps kindle a spirit within a person to go on fighting, and never give up – with a smile on the face.