COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. —
Some west Michigan fourth graders have quite the story to tell thanks to their teacher, Ms. Olivia Obetts, a K-5 STEM Teacher at Comstock Park’s Pine Island Elementary. It’s not uncommon for a group of boys to talk about video games and the NFL, but what was uncommon is the local connection that was waiting for them.
“I overheard these boys talking about about Madden and then they started talking about Judon. Right away I was like, ‘Yeah, Matt Judon, he went to Grand Valley when I was cheering and he was playing football. I know him, we have a bunch of mutual friends. I’ve hung out with him before,’ and these kids just flipped out from that right away,” Olivia Obetts told Fox 17. “They didn’t expect me to know him, or know of him.”
After some coaxing, particularly to one student named D’Andre, Ms. Obetts talked the class into making a video to post on Judon’s Facebook page. “My name is D’Andre and I am one of your biggest fans, plus I also play linebacker. Also, when I play Madden with the Ravens, you are my go-to linebacker,” D’Andre said on the video, which clearly hit home with the five year NFL star defender.
Judon invited Olivia to set up a Zoom call with the class so they could meet virtually. It was a surprise right up until the kids arrived back in class last Thursday, and each one got to ask their own question face-to-face through the camera with Judon during the 25 minute video conference. “He just keep saying, ‘Ok, who else has a question? What’s next?’”, explained Ms. Obetts.
“They did want to ask personal things about him, I was like ‘Lets just keep this football’. I let them walk up and pull their mask down just so that he could see their face,” Ms. Obetts explained about the once in a lifetime encounter for the students. “It was hilarious, D’Andre ended the whole zoom saying ‘I’ll see you on the field in 15 years.’ Judon said, ‘Man I hope I’m still playing in 15 years and can play against you.’”
Ms. Obetts said the kids found out on the Zoom call that Judon had just signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots, but it didn’t bother them, adding that they are clearly fans of his for life. “Every day they share good news and now another kid is like, ‘I used Judon on Madden, I used Judon on Madden’, so now all the boys are getting into it. He just openly volunteered to Zoom with these kids and truly make their life because these kids are never going to forget it.”