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Picture tells the Story. Nick Reardon back on the football sidelines.

POSTED September 22, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

As he stands with Avon High School head football coach Brett Quinion at a recent scrimmage between the two teams, notice something fantastic about former Oliver Wolcott Tech Wildcat player, Nick Reardon: his hair has grown back.

“The first thing I did when I saw him was mess up his hair,” Quinion said, “He looked terrific with about 15 to 20 pounds of muscle built up.”

His battle with testicular cancer was front and center on both teams minds after the events that transpired on Saturday, September 26, in Torrington.

Reardon had learned two weeks earlier that he had the cancer and had surgery to remove the cancer but desperately wanted to get back on the field with his team.

From there, the story is one that highlighted the amazing things people can do when they bond together for a great cause.

Understand this; Nick Reardon never wanted any of the attention and really didn’t get why he had it all.

A shy person by nature, all Reardon wanted to do was play football and be with his friends.

The thought of not playing again, had the senior linebacker completely bummed out as he watched the Falcons build a big lead late in the game.

Then it happened. Wildcats head coach Jamie Coty called Reardon over and told him to run a play “84 Ice”.

To this day, I don’t think he knows what the play was, he was just happy to get in the game.

The play went for an 84 yards and a touchdown (with time and lore, it will for sure be a 99-yarder by the time he tells his kids) and the rest is history.

There was that remarkable dinner at Tech that packed the gym with players from all over the area that brought tears to most in attendance.

An extended community had a mission, and their mission was Reardon.

They were going to will this young man through the months of chemo, and it certainly has worked.

Now a volunteer with the football team, Reardon and Quinion met and talked about the teams, not the cancer.

“The last thing Nick ever wanted to talk about was himself,” Quinion said, “I told him he looked great but then moved on to football.”

The players on both teams learned a valuable lesson on how to handle adversity without falling back on the “Why Me” angle.

“I told my players that every one of them knew somebody in Nick’s situation,” Quinion said, “Somebody, somewhere in their families is or has dealt with cancer.”

The Falcons football team received the Officials Sportsmanship Award a year ago and it’s partly because they did what they did with Reardon without a blink of an eye.

“I was very proud of how our kids handled things,” Quinion said, “I wasn’t surprised because I expect them to stand up and do the right thing and they did.”

After months of treatments, word came down from the Reardon family in Thomaston that Nick was cancer free. His particular cancer usually has a two and a half year waiting period before calling the coast completely clear but so far, so good.

Nick Reardon is not the story around the Wildcats football program and he has a full (short) head of hair.

And that’s just fine with him and everyone who pulled for a young man who just wanted (and still does) to play football.

See you on the sidelines, Nick.

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here