Baylor Bear Foundation
From a chance but impactful meeting this summer in Colorado Springs, Baylor receiver Chris Platt now has own fan club in Portageville, Mo.
Twelve-year-old Beau Hunter Warren even dressed up for Halloween as Chris Platt, complete with a No. 14 Baylor jersey with "Fan of" on the back.
"I looked everywhere and was like, `Oh my gosh, how am I going to get this?' I can't paint a name on the back of that jersey and it look right," said Beau's mom, Heather Williams-Warren. "We just did what we could put together, because we didn't have a lot of Baylor stuff."
Until meeting Chris this summer, Heather didn't even know where Baylor was. Now, like her husband, Jon, and the two boys, Beau (12) and Max (9), she not only knows where Baylor is, she's become a huge fan of Platt and the Bears' football team.
"We would be at a swim meet, and those go on all weekend," Heather said. "We would try to get somewhere, like a restaurant with a TV, because the boys had to watch the game. Or, we would listen to the radio on our tablets. They were obsessed."
The obsession began this summer when Chris shared a cab car with the Warren family on the Cog Railway to Pikes Peak. Sitting across from Chris, Jon noticed him wearing a Baylor track and field sweatshirt and asked if he ran track at Baylor.
"You start pulling him up and looking, and I'm like, `Well, heck, I remember watching games,''' Jon said.
"He never talked about how good he is, nothing," Heather said. "He was just super humble and talked to the boys. `Oh, do you guys play football?' He was just really nice and paid attention to them. The boys were just in awe of him."
From something as simple as taking a picture with the boys and actually showing an interest in them, it looks like Chris has developed fans for life.
"Look, you don't find too many college kids that time to write little kids," Jon said, "not in this day and time. He's such a class act."
The letter writing actually started on the boys' end, when they wrote to Chris and wished him luck before the Bears' Sept. 16 game at Duke.
"They were supporting me every step of the way," Chris said. "Something so simple as a letter, that means a lot." That support turned to nightly prayers after Chris suffered a torn ACL in the third quarter of the Bears' 49-41 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 opener on Sept. 23.
"We were devastated for him, and the boys were so sad," Heather said. "They were praying for him every night when they would say their prayers at bedtime."
That next week, Chris got another letter from Beau and Max:
Dear Mr. Chris,
Hope you are feeling better and can soon get back on the field. We are praying for you. Just stay positive. You are still important to the team. You are the Real Deal!
Here is one of my favorite Bible verses: I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Beau Hunter and Max
Chris, who had reconstructive knee surgery on Oct. 12, reciprocated recently when he sent the boys a letter.
"I was just returning the favor," Chris said. "I really appreciated what they were doing for me and staying in touch and checking on me and praying for me while I was in surgery. . . . I think it was probably one of the first letters I've ever written. I just felt like that would have an impact on me as a kid if I got something like that. It's not like I went out of my way. It took like two minutes."
Heather said the letter, which the boys received in the mail on Monday, was "totally sweet."
"They were just so excited that he took the time out to write them," she said. "Their faces were priceless. My youngest, his mouth was wide open."
Now, the Warrens are tentatively planning to make a road trip to Waco next fall to see their new favorite player and the Bears play in a game at McLane Stadium.
"There's just so many negative things going on, especially right now, and this is such a positive thing," Heather said. "He is just so humble. When somebody has that mindset -- he has goals and they're big -- he's going to go places."
Chris said he's anxious to get back on the field, "but I know I've got to do it, step-by-step."
"I feel very confident, especially with the rehab I'm doing," he said, "like the stuff that I'm able to do right now that I shouldn't be able to do. I'm not really pushing myself over the limits, but they're definitely surprised at how well I'm doing. So, that's definitely a confidence boost."
SMALL WORLD: Heather said she found a "small connection" with Baylor. Her mom graduated with the grandparents of sophomore Lauren Cox from the Baylor women's basketball team. "And her dad graduated from East Prairie High School, like me," she said. "Small world."