Remembering 2012: The year in Baltimore sports
Baltimore Sun reporters and columnists highlight their most memorable sports moments of 2012.
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Much more than a soccer game( Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox / October 23, 2012 )
"Go on, ask me anything," said Kyle Kauffman, manager of Stevenson's soccer team.
Fair enough, I said. Are you bitter about having been born with cerebral palsy?
Kauffman didn't flinch.
"I was born this way for some reason," he said. "I don't know what it is yet, but you've got to take what you're given and run with it."
A day after our interview, with the blessing of Stevenson's coach and players, Kauffman suited up for the Mustangs, started the game and played 18 minutes in a 2-0 victory over Hood. He took a shot on goal. Even on the sideline, removed from the game, he stood stock-still, riveted by the play of a team that he could -- for one night, at least -- call his own.
Kauffman, 21, will graduate next spring with a degree in public history. He'd like to work in a museum setting, become a curator and publish historical manuscripts.
"My goal is to lead a happy life," he said. Nothing more, and surely nothing less. But nothing is off the table for a young man who may be the only player with CP ever to compete in an NCAA soccer game.
Fittingly, Kauffman was on the field at game's end. As if on cue, the ball landed at his feet as time ran out. He picked it up, headed toward the stands and took a stylish bow.
Later, surrounded by family and friends, he lingered on the field, not wanting the moment to end.
"I'll never forget this night. It was amazing," Kauffman said. "You know, I just wanted to be one of the guys."
And I thought: How much we all take for granted.
-- Mike Klingaman