SportsHigh School


Late father's life lessons shine through in Zeeland East senior

Jayden Lopez shows act of kindness despite loss
Jayden Lopez
Posted at 9:54 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 23:00:54-04
Father's love shines through in Zeeland East senior

On Thursday night, Zeeland East trailed Spring Lake 49-14 in the second half but it was an act of sportsmanship that would steal the spotlight.

Chix senior Jayden Lopez watched Lakers runningback Brodie Lightfoot fall to the ground with cramps after a run and Lopez didn't hesitate to help.

"He was like, 'dude I'm cramping, I'm cramping on my legs,'" Lopez recalled, "I was like okay I've only seen people lift legs up for cramps, so I'm going to lift your leg and see how it goes and he was like, 'yeah do that, do that,' then the ref told me to get away," he chuckled.

But it was an act of a true sport, despite trailing by 35 points at the time.

"No matter how much you're losing or how much you think you're doing bad, you have to be respectful no matter where you're at, because you never know what that person is going through," added Jayden.

Jayden Lopez

Yet, not many people have been through what the 17-year-old Lopez has in the past several months after losing his father in April due to COVID-19.

"He had a headache for two days and one day he was coughing super bad and couldn't control it so we went to the emergency room and tried to figure out what was wrong with him," explained Lopez, "Doctors said, 'yeah your oxygen levels are low, you should be put on a ventilator.'"

As his dad laid in the hospital, eventually on life support, Lopez and his family could only see him through Facetime and prayed for a drastic change.

"They were deciding on whether or not to take him off and disconnect everything but my brothers and I didn't want them to because we thought he'd fight through, so we told them to keep it on until he slowly died out."

The Lopez family

Adrian Lopez passed away on April 6, 2021.

"It taught me to get closer with my family members and just cherish everything you have with them because you never know how fast and easy they'll be gone like that," Jayden added.

The play where he helped his opponent wasn't a fluke or a one time thing, it's the way Lopez was raised by his late father and family.

"When I was growing up and wasn't being respectful to people, he'd show me the way and teach me you have to be respectful no matter how much you're winning or losing."

Jayden Lopez and his father, Adrian

Jayden was on the fence about playing football this fall but says he was pushed by his father's passing.

"Knowing that his favorite thing to do was watch me play and teach me and everything made me play," he said, "now that I'm playing and he's not here, I feel like he's up there just teaching me."

Lopez and the Chix will take on Holland on Friday night.