Chip and chase for the ages
ON MONDAY, one story ran on both the front and back pages of the QT.
It was a touching story (and one I fussed over endlessly), about one well-known Ipswich family and their amazing ability to deal with a young son who now needs a liver transplant.
Told he can no longer play contact sports, young Max Bishop was given a surprise 'grand final' on Saturday for his last game as a Brothers junior.
Family, friends and the rugby league community turned out to make this last game one for the ages, and little Max showed why rugby league is the one that should miss him.
Playing in the front row, Max delivered a chip and chase to score right under the nose of his crowd of supporters who erupted in cheers.
The story itself, and the strength of character shown by Max's parents Caroline and Mark, left no room to mention all the support and well-wishing received by the Bishop family.
Keeping friends and family updated with Max's journey through social media, the family received an overwhelming outpouring of support from near and far.
"You know you have friends around but when something like this happened people really surprised me,” Caroline Masson said. "You know the ones that are going to help but it's the ones that come out and offered help that I didn't expect which was the eye opener.”
Mark is the Ipswich Jets BRL coach.
Through his father, Max has become one of the Jets family. That was well evident on Saturday, as Jets players Nathan Goulton and Chris Ash lifted their some- time-assistant coach onto their shoulders as he left the field.
Joined by fellow Jets staff and players, Brothers members and even their opposing Norths supporters, Max got a taste of what makes being in a close sporting family so special.
Like any proud group, the rugby league community look after their own and messages of support came pouring in from some of Max's biggest heroes.
NSW Origin star Josh Mansour ran out for Penrith on Monday night sporting the name MAX on his strapping tape. Without naming each one, it's sufficient to say Mansour wasn't the only NRL star to send a text or call throughout the week.
Whether it's rugby league or rowing, music or maths, the connections made through shared passion can so easily become a big part of any person's life.
With his phone blowing up with texts from Canberra's Josh Papalli, a grin on his face from scoring his trademark chip'n'chase and the support of a strong and loving family, Max can count himself a lucky young man.
At some point in life everyone will be dealt a tough hand. But judging by the mature and confident manner in which Max has tackled this experience, no challenge will be too big for the Bishop boy.
I have no doubt the football gods still have plenty of plans in mind to keep you in the game Max. After all, who else is going to be there to tell those Jets wingers when they should or shouldn't go for that magical chip kick?