By KYRA VIDAS ‘18
The Lake Forest College Football team welcomed a new member to their family this season who’s nearly half the age of most of the players.
Brannon Moran, a 10-year-old honorary member, was “adopted” by the team through a Team Impact Program, which allows young kids who are facing life-threatening illnesses to gain support from local sports teams.
Brannon was drafted to the Foresters in 2015, after the College had previously adopted another boy, Benny Waters, through an organization called Friends of Jaclyn.
Head Football Coach Jim Catanzaro realized that none of the players currently on the team attended the College when they first adopted Benny Waters. Catanzaro suggested to his players that they should support another local youngster.
“I knew how big of an impact that had on that generation of players and thought it would be a great experience for these guys,” Catanzaro said. The entire football program agreed, hoping to continue the same influence on another young child the way previous players had when they adopted Benny.
“The toughness he showed in battling and beating cancer at such a young age is an inspiration to our entire team on a daily basis,” Forester linebacker Michael Cole ’18 said of Brannon.
Brannon Moran, also known as the team’s hype man, stands on the Forester sidelines with over 19 brothers and wears the number 19 jersey. He dances, smiles, and always high fives his brothers while running down the sidelines to catch the next play.
“My favorite memory is dancing with Brannon after every touchdown,” said Tom Steen ’18, an offensive lineman.
Brannon also joins the Foresters throughout the year off the sidelines. He goes bowling with the team and joins them for “The Hunt,” an annual tradition where the men are separated into teams and are sent on a scavenger hunt.
Moran’s dream of scoring a collegiate touchdown came true at the Forester’s scrimmage game against Concordia University in Chicago. He was given the football and all the players followed him down the field. Two Forester football players, Cole and Patrick McDonaugh ’18, were among the first to celebrate with him in the end zone. Brannon started their scrimmage with a touchdown run, and ended in all smiles.
“Watching Brannon sprint to the end zone to score his first collegiate touchdown was a special moment for him and our team,” McDonaugh said
“Brannon brings a different type of energy to our sideline that everyone can get behind. He changes the way we all see the games and celebrate every win,” Steen said.
Kyra Vidas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org