By Connor Snashall
"The Blindside," "Invictus," "Miracle on Ice," "Friday Night Lights." We've all seen an inspirational sports movie at some point in time. They start with a story, continue with a journey and end with a last second heroic effort from the main character to win the game.
But sometimes, it's not about that buzzer-beater or touchdown pass. Sometimes, it's about the story and efforts of one person. That is exactly the case for senior finance major and Pilots baseball equipment manager Sam Bridgman.
Bridgman was diagnosed with a degenerative, life-shortening neurological disease called Friedreich's Ataxia (FA) when he was 15. FA took away his ability to play sports, one of his life-long passions, and forced him into a wheelchair. To this day, there still is no cure for the disease, and that's what Bridgman is searching for with SamJam: to raise money in order to research the cure for FA.
Next Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chiles Center, Bridgman will be hosting the 2013 SamJam. The event will feature the Portland Wheelblazers and the UP men's and women's basketball players competing in a wheelchair basketball game as a fundraiser to find the cure for Friedreich's Ataxia.
SamJam raised over $7,000 in 2011, but Bridgman hopes to reach his goal of $8,000 this time around. With music and entertainment, a halftime show and planned appearances from the Portland Thorns, SamJam 2013 hopes to attract students and raise awareness.
It was a severe disappointment when Alex Morgan didn't appear at the Pilots vs. Thorns game, so this could be our chance. You don't want to be that guy (or girl) who missed the opportunity of a lifetime and regrets it for the rest of their life. When asked if Alex Morgan would be in attendance, Bridgman responded uncertainly, but don't give up hope.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and admission to the event is free, however, donations are encouraged. You can also donate to Bridgman's cause by buying a Harper's Playground scarf or a SamJam T-shirt. So instead of sitting down and watching "Friday Night Lights" this upcoming Tuesday night, head to the Chiles Center and be a part of something bigger than just you and me.