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College Freshman Wins Sportsmanship Award for Helping Youth Cheerleader

By Brooke Hill, Baylor Lariat, 11/21/17, 1:15PM CST

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Matthew Garcia had perhaps the most 'uplifting' story of the year when he hoisted a crying girl onto his shoulder.


Matthew Garcia

This student took the saying “lifting someone up” to a whole new level.

Fair Oaks Ranch freshman Matthew Garcia was in the crowd for his brother’s youth football game in San Antonio when he noticed something strange. Addie Rodriguez, a member of the cheerleading squad for the opponents, was crying on the sidelines.

The cheerleaders had planned a special set of cheers that included the cheerleaders’ moms and dads. First, the girls cheered with their moms, then their dads. All except Addie Rodriguez. Her father, Abel Rodriguez, is a senior airman and medevac tech in the Air Force. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and had left the previous day on a training mission.

When the girls began to cheer with their fathers, Rodriguez was visibly upset. Garcia ran down the bleachers and leaped over the fence down to the track to where the cheerleaders were performing and stayed with Rodriguez through the father-daughter cheer.

Garcia recently received a Musial Award for his actions. Named for Stan Musial, a sports icon who embodied class and kindness, the Musial Awards recognize the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship in North America and honor legendary sports figures who personify its virtues, according to its website.