I’m sitting here answering emails sent to me in response to this morning’s report, most commenting on those age-12 memories of mine that were rekindled at Ameriquest Field yesterday afternoon, when ESPN SportsCenter airs a story featuring — completely coincidentally — a 12-year-old kid in New York City named Charlie Pena. Charlie suffers from sickle cell anemia.

Through the “Make-A-Wish Foundation,” Charlie got his wish, acting as coach for a day for his favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Erica and Max smiled a lot as we watched Charlie live what was for him an impossible dream. The story brought me to tears.

The Eagles are Charlie’s heroes. But he was the real hero, to Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb and anyone who watched that story this morning.

ESPN is a wispy shadow of its former self. The list of things I can’t stand about what the network has become, on its own volition, is long. But one of the things it does really, really well, maybe as well as anyone, is produce and present a human interest story. I encourage you to catch Charlie’s story on SportsCenter.

The story of that spirited 12-year-old and the dream he lived out makes me want to take back what I wrote this morning, in a way. But in another way, it sorta makes me appreciate yesterday even more.


You can read more from Jamey Newberg at

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