By LARRY VAUGHT
Jimbo Schaffer never thought about making his son an internet sensation or University of Kentucky football fan favorite when he posted a simple 45-second video of his son opening a Christmas present on Twitter.
However, the video had over 250,000 views in just over 24 hours and that number is likely to continue growing because it shows his 10-year-old son, Brody, with a dramatic reaction to learning he would be going to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando to watch Kentucky play Penn State Jan. 1.
Brody breaks down in tears and eventually goes to hug his father, who will be going to the game with him.
“I did not expect this at all. To tell the truth, I was just putting the video up so all our friends could see it,” said Jimbo Schaffer Wednesday. “It’s just been crazy since I did it. My phone just keeps dinging with twitter responses.”
How far has the video reached? Well, it caught the attention of Citrus Bowl officials who reached out to Schaffer on Twitter.
“They were so impressed with the video that they offered to let Brody and I on the field prior to the game to watch the teams warm up,” Jimbo Schaffer said.
Obviously, the Schaffers are thrilled with that offer — just like the one that UK recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Vince Marrow made on Twitter after seeing the video to let Brody watch UK practice.
“If he could go to a practice or something like that it would just make his whole year,” Jimbo Schaffer said. “It was just amazing the way people reacted. With so much bad stuff going on these days, I think it just really touched people. They saw this little guy who really appreciated what he got. I sent a buddy the video and he said he had to quit watching before he cried.”
Whitney Harding, a sport reporter with WHAS-TV in Louisville where the Schaffers live, certainly understood that feeling based on her Christmas day post on Twitter after she saw the video.
“This is just heartwarming. I remember when I was about this young man’s age my parents bought me tickets to my first ever Houston Rockets game and this was pretty close to my reaction. I love seeing young fans overcome by love of sport and team. Merry Christmas, young man!” Harding tweeted.
His love for Kentucky comes naturally. His father has had football season tickets for about 20 years and says he has taken Brody, who plays offensive/defensive line on a school team, to games since he was old enough to walk. His older sisters, ages 15 and 13, take him to the Cat Walk before games.
“He never misses the Cat Walk. He leaves the games a little early so he can get a good spot by the locker room. He collects (players’) gloves, wrist bands, etc. He is just eat up with UK football and basketball,” Jimbo Schaffer said.
That’s what helped make the video so emotional. Jimbo Schaffer had originally planned to take the whole family to the bowl game. However, a check of air flight and ticket prices changed his mind. His wife suggested he just take Brody to the game and she would stay home with the girls.
“That’s when we decided to give him the bowl trip for Christmas,” Jimbo Schaffer said.
However, Brody’s father told him the trip was off because the family could not afford it.
“He got mad. He said, ‘A promise is a promise,’ because I had promised him we would go to a bowl,” Jimbo Schaffer said. “That’s why on the video I told him, ‘A promise is a promise.’
“He is not normally a real emotional kid. I expected him to be excited but his pure emotion caught us all off guard. He’s a really good kid. That’s why his sisters understood that they couldn’t go but their little brother was. If Kentucky could win, that would just be icing on the cake.”
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To see the video go to Twitter and see Jimbo Schaffer’s timeline at @bigbobo999 to see the video.