A Texas high school football player has gone viral on social media after he was caught praying with an opponent following an intense game, KXII reports.
Last Friday, Gage Smith, a senior who plays safety at Sherman High School, had just finished playing against West Mesquite High School when he walked up to Ty Jordan, an opponent whom he plays with from a select 7-on-7 team.
"When you're playing the game, you're playing to win and the other team is the enemy, but afterwards you still have respect for the other opponent," he explained to the station.
Smith said he was also aware that Jordan's mother was battling cancer and asked to pray with the West Mesquite player.
"I just had a moment with him praying over him, his mom, and his family," Smith said.
The wife of Smith's football coach, J.D. Martinez, happened to capture the moment and shared photos of it with Smith's mother, who, in turn, passed them along to Jordan's family. Jordan's aunt then posted the image on Facebook, which caught the attention of thousands of Facebook users. By Sunday night, the post had allegedly been shared over 140,000 times before it was made unavailable to the public.
"To see that it blew up, I was very surprised by it, and I wasn't expecting it to be like that, you know, I was just doing it for him and doing it for his mom and his family," Smith said.
Several people managed to find Smith's Facebook and thanked him personally.
"Hello Gage! I live in [Georgia] and saw a picture of you that’s gone viral praying for a young man that lost his mother," one person wrote. "I don’t know you but I’m proud of you! It’s people like you that can make a difference in this world. Good luck on your future endeavors!"
In an interview with KXII, Smith's coach said that the student-athlete has always served as a role model.
"He's a true leader, and he has compassion, and it followed through for a lot of the guys on the team," Martinez said.