The recent, universally-acclaimed touchdown run by a young cancer patient inspired many around the country.
It did not, however, give much hope to young Johnny Wilkinson. A Nebraska men’s basketball fan who has been battling a similar disease for the last three years, Johnny has never been contacted by the athletic department or head coach Tim Miles.
Johnny’s father, James Wilkinson, said that his 10 year old son has been taking the recent spring game events hard. “Johnny has never liked football, but basketball has always been his passion,” he said. “During his earliest years, he dreamed of playing for Barry Collier, then Doc Sadler, and now Tim Miles. Some of my fondest memories involve watching him try to shoot lay-ups, with roughly the same efficiency as any current Husker player.”
Johnny, for his part, has tried to keep his spirits up. “I visited Mr. Miles after the last game of this year,” said Johnny. “I waited until he was the last one on the floor. All of a sudden he just started crying, and I started crying. I was so happy we were crying together.”
As has been reported repeatedly since the season ended, Miles was actually sobbing “at the pointlessness of it all,” because his new fan base actually stormed the court after beating Minnesota.
James Wilkinson has also stated that no current basketball player has taken any interest in his cancer-stricken son, nor have any of the assistant coaches offered him an opportunity to “even, like, shoot a free throw at halftime.”
“We don’t expect any special treatment,” said James. “I know Johnny’s just one of a thousand kids with cancer across the country. But dammit, if they can have their moment, why can’t Johnny?”
Tim Miles, when asked for comment, did say that his staff had briefly considered recruiting Johnny, but that, while he had a wonderful story, he “doesn’t have Big Ten size or speed. And he’s not foreign.”
At press time, James recalled that women’s coach Connie Yori had offered Johnny the chance to practice with the team, a spot on the traveling squad, and “even a chance to start at center next season if his grades clear with the NCAA.”