Christian Baxter's time to shine: "I Finally got my chance to play"
Simply say the name "Christian Baxter" at Onondaga Central School, a smile surely will follow.
Christian Baxter, a senior at the school, has served as football team manager the past five seasons while two of his brothers suited up for the Tigers.
A special needs student at the school, Christian never suited up, but that didn't mitigate his role with the team one bit.
Don't let the team manager title be misleading, Christian is just as much a member of the team as anyone running on the field.
"He's Onondaga Football" Head Coach Steve Lewis says.
There was always something missing.
You see Christian LOVES football. His hero is a former Onondaga Central Tiger Latavius Murray, you can bet that's a big part of the reason why Christian's favorite team is the Oakland Raiders.
"We're a big football family, he's always loved the sport" his mother Johanna says.
That missing piece? Watching, supporting, enjoying a game.
Never able to play it competitively.
That all changed on Saturday.
Years of frustration, wondering "what if?", ended as Onondaga took on Cato-Meridian for the Tigers Senior Day.
Coach Lewis told Christian, it's time to suit up.
"Amazingly Excited" is how Christian describes his emotions heading into the game.
His mother admits, there were butterflies in the days leading up to it. She had to reassure him he'd be just fine out there.
After all, he'd been preparing his whole life for this one moment.
Indeed. Christian looked like a natural on Saturday.
For most of the first half, Christian took part in his usual team manager duties as the undefeated Tigers built a four-touchdown lead.
As the clock ticked close to halftime it was Christian's moment to get ready to roll.
He put on the pads, a shiny black #80 Onondaga jersey and charged on the field.
An announcement was made that it was Christian's first snap and from there it was his time to shine.
Again, like a natural, Christian knew exactly what to do.
He burst through the line and was gone.
No doubt, a bit of a celebration was in order and the entire team joined Christian in the end zone.
"I was like, wow, I can finally get my chance" Christian says.
"I finally got my chance to play"
Christian Baxter's dream finally comes true. An inspiration to everyone in Central New York.