These two high-school football players are going viral for praying together after a game

Sportsmanship is as old an idea as athletic competition itself. After all, the first Olympic games were designed to foster peace and cooperation, a notion that at least still exists in theory today.

However, all too often, today's world of competitive sports seems to focus on massive contracts, endorsement deals and players siding with China over freedom and democracy to protect their lucrative self-interest. Players are brands, teams are profit generators and fans are stuck somewhere in between.


Then there are stories like that of Gage Smith and Ty Jordan that remind you of how powerful and inspiring athletes still can be. Smith and Jordan are high-school football rivals in Texas. They knew each other a little bit from having met in some statewide athletic events. Their respective teams were taking the field to play a game against each other, which ordinarily would focus on one team's triumph over the other. However, in this case, it's what happened after the game that has made national headlines.

Related: A viral story about David Bowie giving a boy with autism his 'invisible mask' is a must-read

When Smith found out that Jordan's mother is battling cancer, he asked if he could pray with Jordan after the game. Jordan agreed and the two players quietly met on the field, crossed arms and kneeled in prayer.

"I just had a moment with him praying over him, his mom, and his family," Smith told CNN.

However, Jordan's aunt shared photos of the moment on her Facebook page where it has been shared over 140,000 times.

"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.

Related: An emotional Michael Jordan opens his first clinic for the uninsured and underinsured

It's strong evidence that people still look to the best of "good sportsmanship" for inspiration and meaning in our lives. You don't have to be a football fan, or even care about sports at all, to see the power of these two young men quietly setting an example of compassion, decency, and yes, leadership for their fellow students.

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As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Nicole Abate, a Registered Medical-Surgical Nurse living in New Mexico, starts her workday around 5:00 a.m. During her 20-minute drive to work, she gets to watch the sun rise over the Sandia Mountains as she sips her coffee.

"It's one of my favorite things to do," said Nurse Abate. "A lot of us need a little calm before the storm."

Nicole | Heroes Behind the Masks Presented by CeraVe youtu.be

In March 2020, after a fairly quiet start to the year, Nurse Abate's unit became the official COVID unit for her hospital. "It went full force after that," she says. Abate was afraid, overwhelmed with uncertainty, never knowing what was next on the wild roller coaster in this new territory, "just when you think ...we know exactly what we're doing, boom, something else hits so you adapt… that's part of nursing too." Abate faced her responsibilities courageously and with grace, as she always does, making life a little better for patients and their families "Thank you for taking care of my father," reads one recent letter from a patient's family. "You were kind, attentive and strong and we are truly grateful."

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