Wright Words: Jason Wright: Notre Dame won a much more valuable prize than BCS championship this year

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 15 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

It didn't even end with the regular season. Who flew on the charter jet to the bowl game in Miami? Sam and his entire family.

Notre Dame defensive end Grant Patton spoke of the players' commitment to ESPN. “We all made a promise to him that he would be our brother. And I believe, at least for me, it goes beyond football, and it goes beyond this season. It’s not a ‘this year’ thing. It’s not a ‘next year’ thing. It’s not a ‘while I’m in college’ thing. It’s a ‘forever thing.’”

Sam’s road to forever is a long one. He has two more rounds of chemotherapy and a lifetime of battling "scanxiety" with his family, a term used by Sam's mom to describe the fear of the recurring CT and MRI scans to ensure he remains cancer free.

No doubt it will be easier to manage that fear, and anything else life might throw at him, with the support of both a loving family at home and an army of Fighting Irish brothers spread across Indiana, eventually the NFL and many other professions. Can't you picture Notre Dame’s Manti Te'o, one of college football's most high-profile players in history, texting Sam during his rookie year in the NFL after his first interception for a touchdown? “You catch that pick 6, Sam?”

Of course he will. That’s what brothers do.

I asked Sam to pick a favorite moment from his time so far as a member of the Notre Dame football team. “It’s hard to choose because there were so many. The Wake Forest game had the most cool moments because I walked out with coach (Brian) Kelly; was in the front row singing the alma mater; and led the victory cheer in the locker room."

Like his mother said, some of his opportunities would make grown men cry.

The Elias Sports Bureau, ESPN and die-hard fans of both teams will record and remember that Alabama won the BCS title for the 2012 season.

But those most closely associated with the program will record and remember that the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame won something much more valuable over the last year.

They won a brother.

Notre Dame's special player and adopted brother

This feature from ESPN shared about 14-year-old Sam Grewe and Even though he isn't on the roster, how Sam has been an inspiration for the Notre Dame football team this season.

Jason F. Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars," "The Wednesday Letters" and "The 13th Day of Christmas." He can be reached at feedback@jasonfwright.com or jasonfwright.com.

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