by Mickey Smith
For the past two games, the New York Giants have been struggling with the rest of the National Football League. Since being diagnosed in March, Adam Merchant Jr., of Barre, has been struggling with Burkitt’s lymphoma. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the two got together this past Friday, November 23, and for at least one weekend the Giants played like “World Champions.”
Adam, who is the grandson of Gary and Janet Merchant, of Johnson, had his wish granted to meet the New York Giants. As part of the experience. he was able to talk with the team in at their final practice before this weekend’s game with the Green Bay Packers.
News reports from the East Rutherford, NJ, home of the Giants, state Adam was nervous and spoke in what was described as a squeaky whisper, but the message he gave was deafening and struck a chord with the team.
“Go out there and play like you’re world champions,” he told the team.
A simple message for the defending Super Bowl winners, but one that apparently they needed to hear. According to news reports, Head Coach Tom Coughlin said the team picked up on Adam’s words and appreciated that Adam chose the New York Giants’ home as the place he wanted to visit. Coughlin told the press after the meeting he used the same message in his meeting with the team, and the players took it to heart and did play like the defending champions they are, defeating one of the hottest teams in the NFL 38-10.
Adam was invited into the locker room after the game and was given Justin Tuck’s game jersey to go along with the Jason Pierre-Paul jersey he was already wearing.
“He could have gone anywhere in the world [with his wish],” Giant Osi Umenyiora is quoted as saying after the game. “He chose to come here.”
With the win, the New York Giants have a two-game lead in the NFC East but face a tough three-game stretch as the regular season winds down. Adam’s cancer has been very aggressive, but is described as in remission right now... and they’ll be rooting for each other as their future unfolds.