An inspiring finish on Senior Day at GHS

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 21, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

In any sport, the final regular season home game is nice for the seniors, who usually are recognized for their contributions to the program throughout the years.

For one Gainesville High senior, Saturday's soccer match against Tallahassee Leon is one he'll never forget.

On a beautiful afternoon at Citizens Field, Ben Brew stepped on to the field in a GHS uniform for the first time in almost two seasons. On Sept. 8, 2005, Brew was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia, which put his life on hold. It took him months to be able to go back to school, let alone participate in any athletic ventures. His appearance on the field, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd, was a testament to his love of the game and his determination and drive to get back on the field one last time.

Brew got to start the game and played for about 15 minutes before being subbed out. It looked like that might have been his only game action, but GHS coach Jeremy Witt put Brew back in the game with about eight minutes to play, which allowed him to experience a genuine fairy-tale moment.

In the 78th minute, Brew received a pass from senior Louis Rojas, got his left foot on the ball in the box and drove it past the Lions' goalie, making his story even more amazing, if that's even possible.

"This is one of the best days of my life," Brew said after the game. "I just want to cherish it now. This is like a movie ending."

Many of Brew's family members and former teammates came to watch Brew, including Stephen Langham, an old teammate who drove from Memphis to see Brew play.

"When he first mentioned (playing again), he was really excited, " Langham said. "This is a big step for him. He thought he could never play again."

Although Leon beat GHS 4-2, everyone was smiling after the game, including Witt, who still made Brew feel like he was a part of the team even though he couldn't play.

"It was all about him today," Witt said. "This was more for him and his family than anybody. I've never been so pleased with a game afterwards, and I've been to two final fours.

"(He'll be remembered as) the most inspiring player of all time (at GHS). He's inspired more people than anybody could have."

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