Young Trio Provide Inspiration, Hope


A bold claim suggests America’s youth has never had so many opportunities. An expanded claim says the same for the youth around the globe. Opportunities run the gamut, from technology to education, and from mobility to part- and full-time jobs. Our youth may be living in the best of times.

There’s a suspicion that opportunities are squandered; youth is wasted on the young. The term entitlement comes to mind. A $1.60 minimum wage job tackling a mountain of dirty dishes long ago has transitioned to very similar jobs at $10 or $12 an hour that go unfilled. Party-line telephone service yielded to the latest and greatest cell phones. Who walks or rides a bike when a gently-used commuter SUV sits in the driveway? Maybe it’s generational; moms and dads proclaim their very own children enjoy a softer life than they had.

Just when hope appears lost, three inspiring stories involving our youth and young adults emerge. Yes, there’s a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a beacon from an oncoming freight train.

Meet Kade Lovell, a nine-year old runner. He entered a recent five kilometer (5K) race and somewhere on the course made a wrong turn. Perhaps leading the pack, young Kade had no one to follow. He did not stop. He did not turn around. He did not search for a map on Google. He kept going. Kade won the 10K race even though he signed up for the shorter distance. His pace was a very respectable 7:45 over 6.2 miles. Here’s to Kade.

Meet Casey O’Brien, a typical college student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Oh, Casey is a non-scholarship member of the (Fighting) Golden Gophers football squad. He says he’s third on the depth chart as a holder for extra-point kicks. Oh, Casey is a four-time cancer survivor. For those having six spare minutes, ESPN recently profiled a courageous Casey O’Brien. Keep a hankie handy. More recently, he was nominated for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Casey jokes about getting on the field for just one extra point attempt. The current holder said they may be working on a secret plan to pull this off. It involves the first two holders suddenly misplacing their helmets, opening the door for Casey. Here’s to Casey. Please, please execute that not-so-secret plan.

Meet Carson King, another typical (or atypical) college student. Before the Iowa-Iowa State football game a few weeks ago, Carson held up a placard to a national audience. The nearly broke college student asked for a little beer money. He figured someone would bite. They did. A few hundred dollars became a few thousand. Corporate sponsors jumped in. As the monetary snowball rolled down the hill, Carson found himself at the center of a national spotlight. He announced he’d keep the first two thousand dollars and donate the rest to charity. At last count the fund was at $1.1 million and still climbing. Oh, Carson got a year’s supply of his favorite beer from a national brewer, too. Here’s to Carson.

Those dang kids and young adults. There is hope. There is inspiration. Go forward Kade, Casey, and Carson. Do bigger and better things. And, upon further reflection, there are plenty of good, normal kids who are not doing remarkable things, but are fine young people just the same. Keep going.