Just before Thanksgiving, the Bridgewater Badgers peewee football team made national headlines by standing up to bullying with a unified show of support for their 6-year-old "water coach," Danny Keefe, who suffered a brain hemorrhage shortly after birth and subsequently has a speech impediment.
Danny was being teased because of the way he talks, and when the Badgers heard that this was happening, they decided that it needed to stop. They organized a "Danny Appreciation Day," during which 45 boys wore a suit, tie, and fedora to school like Danny does, and thereby delivered the message that it wasn't okay to pick on him -- or anybody else, for that matter.
As soon as the media heard this, the story went deservedly viral, and eventually the news made its way to Ellen Degeneres -- who happens to have some connections a couple of New England football fans could certainly appreciate.
Ellen invited 6-year-old Danny and 11-year-old Tommy Cooney, the Badgers' quarterback and the impetus behind the big day, to be celebrated on her talk show in Los Angeles this past week, and before their segment was complete the two boy heroes received a video message from a hero of another sort they hail back home. It was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
"Hi Danny and Tommy. I hope you guys are having fun in LA with my friend Ellen," Brady began his recorded message. "I heard about your story and I can't imagine how proud your parents must be. Danny, people still tease me about what I wear -- but I never listen to them, so keep wearing what makes you feel best.
"And, Tommy, I love your leadership and how you stood up for Danny, and I applaud the entire Bridgewater Badgers team for participating. I hear you're both big Patriot fans, so I'd love to give you guys some tickets to our regular-season finale against Buffalo in a few weeks, and give you some pregame field passes, too."
Brady also tells the boys that Pats owner Robert Kraft will give the entire Badgers team tickets to the Hall at Patriots Place -- news that left their mouths agape. After their segment, Danny took the aisles to do some dancing, and then they sat down to recap the experience with one of Ellen's producers.
"Really, really, really -- really, really, really -- awesome and crazy!" Danny said.
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