New tradition starts with new football season—’The Dawg Run’
Baldwin raised money and purchased an inflatable tunnel for the varsity football team to run through before the games. The Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps is in charge of the tunnel and sets it up and takes it down for every home game.
The Ramona High School Royal Alliance Band and Color Guard, youth football players, NJROTC cadets, and loyal fans and supporters of the Bulldogs form a human tunnel after the team runs through the inflatable tunnel.
The band bangs the drums, and the team and fans get pumped up for the game.
“It is great for esprit de corps, spirit, and tradition,” said Baldwin. “It is something that youth, freshmen, and junior varsity football players look forward to as a goal. The first time a player runs through that tunnel, he knows that he has made the varsity football team at Ramona High School. He has accomplished something. His hard work in the weight room and in the off seasons has paid off. He is a Bulldog!”
Last Friday, a young boy who had to work hard and overcome adversity got to run out with the Bulldogs.
Colin Baldwin (no relation to Coach Baldwin) led his favorite team, the Ramona Bulldogs, through the tunnel and onto the field. Colin is 7 years old and in the second grade. He is the first non-varsity football player to run through the tunnel and lead the team on the field. He had to overcome some huge obstacles to lead the Dawgs.
Colin’s mom, Angela, and dad, Kevin, noticed that Colin developed a slight limp during baseball season. The limp got worse and he developed a muscle twitch.
Something was wrong.
After several trips to doctors and multiple tests, Colin was diagnosed with Dystonia, a brain disorder. In layman’s terms, Colin’s brain was not sending his body the correct messages and he was losing his ability to walk. The prognosis was grim.
“There is no cure,” his mother said. “We were told that he would not be able to walk in two to five years.”
Colin’s parents searched the Internet and learned about a procedure that had been successful. They took Colin to a neurosurgeon in San Francisco who performs a special kind of surgery that reduces the symptoms of Dystonia.
A Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) was implanted in Colin’s chest. In layman’s terms it is like a pacemaker for the brain. DBS is not a cure, but it is a bridge to the cure. It can reduce the symptoms of Dystonia by 60 percent to 99 percent.
“Before the operation Colin was confined to a wheelchair because he had lost his ability to walk,” said Angela. “Now he can run and play. He won’t be able to play football, but he can play soccer and baseball. He can run. He still has some problem writing, but after being in a wheelchair that is minor.”
Colin had a blast Friday night. He ran out of the tunnel holding hands with his brother, Nathan Cherek.
“I loved running out on the field with the Bulldogs,” he said.
He has friends on the varsity.
“Trae Rodriguez and T-Bone (Williams) are good friends of mine,” he said. “I also know a lot of junior varsity players.”
His favorite player is Javier Dominguez.
When asked if having Colin run out with the team was a break from tradition, Coach Baldwin answered, “No way! Family is what Bulldog football is all about. Colin overcame adversity and deserved to run out with the team.”
Colin is signed up and ready to play soccer.
Kevin and Angela would like to thank Ramona for all of the prayers and give a special thanks to Steven Cherek, Coach Baldwin and his staff and the Ramona Bulldogs for allowing Colin to do what he loves to do, run on the field with his Bulldogs.
Athletes from the varsity and junior varsity football teams of Grossmont High School and Ramona High School did a lot of running on the field at the Dawg House on Friday night, but nobody enjoyed their run as much as Colin R. Baldwin.
If you are not afraid to shed a tear or two, go to www.colinrbaldwin.com and look up the blog and view the pictures.
In 1980, Al Michaels asked a rhetorical question as the USA upset the Russians in Olympic hockey. “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
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