Heart Over Height: That Time My Brother Was Famous

My junior year of high school, the world learned about my older brother, Adam. Adam was that “4 feet 5 inches, 95 pound” high school football running back that the press could not get enough of. Articles were written about him for months and he was even invited to be on the Rachael Ray Show. It was an exciting time in my family, especially for Adam.

I remember being really confused as to why he was blowing up. I mean, he’s my older brother. Sure, he worked hard for everything he had. Sure, he was an inspiration. But, anyone who knew Adam was aware of this—why did it take the rest of the world so long to realize? I know it all started with the Miami Herald publishing an article on him and comparing him to Rudy. It just amazed me how people really thought this was so noteworthy. Adam had been playing football for as long as I could remember. This was the first year he was on the varsity high school team, but nevertheless, football had been his passion for basically all 17 years of his life.

It started with the Miami Herald's story and just continued to gain traction. Soon the Sun Sentinel, ESPN, USA Today, and even People.com had stories featuring this pint-size football player who just so happened to be my older brother.

Being invited to be on Rachael Ray’s show was the highlight of Adam’s “fame.” The show flew Adam, my mother, and I up to New York—and they even paid for the hotel and gave us a daily stipend for food. We were instructed not to talk about what happened when he was on the show until it aired. My mom and I got our hair and makeup professionally done (they even managed to put a little bit of makeup on Adam, too). On the show, the Miami Dolphins' (Adam’s favorite football team) running back invited Adam to a game where he was given passes to meet the players. He inspired millions, including the professionals.

Adam’s story showed everyone that if you put your mind to something, you can do it. As corny as that sounds, Adam was living, breathing proof it was possible. Against all odds, he made the world realize that if you say you can’t do something, it’s because you’re making excuses. If you've got the attitude and drive to pursue your dreams, you can make them a reality. 

As much as I love to give Adam problems (I’m his sister, what else do you expect?) I do have to commend him on one thing: he never let the fame change him. It was only a couple months of fame, but even after being invited to be on Rachael Ray, he never bragged about it or made anyone feel like they were less than him because of it. Sure, he was still a pain to me during this time, I’m not saying he was a pure angel who could do no wrong. But, he never made it about the publicity, the fame, or the fact that he blew up. It was all annoying older brother things, just like it always had been.

Adam, if you’re reading this, do the world a favor: follow your passion for football. Do whatever it takes. I know this is easier said than done, but when I say everyone believes in what you can achieve, I’m not kidding. Even I believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. Hey, you got onto Rachael Ray by just being yourself—think of what else you can do! Besides, who needs altitude when you've got attitude? You’re an inspiration. Not only to other kids who are standing in your shoes, but to professional players, your friends, and above everything else, you’re an inspiration to me. 

All photos in this article were provided by Adam.