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Having strength in the Big Face of adversity

He began crying from almost the very moment he walked into the room. Friday, just after 2:15 p.m., the main conference room at Demopolis High School played host to a small reception of faculty, staff, coaches and community members who came to say farewell to Michael “Big Face” Davis.

The situation is now well-publicized, a remarkable high school football player and even better person, Davis is on his way to Columbus, Ga. where he will play his final season in hopes of earning a scholarship. An 18-year-old kid who has lost his mother and been raised by his sister who simultaneously has been taking care of five children of her own, Big Face has been a beacon of strength and good faith.

He has embraced everything thrown at him, kept that undeniable smile on his face and never once shown anyone how much it all bothered him. That is, until Friday. A young man who has already experienced so much loss, the thing that brought Big Face to tears was leaving home and the community that he loves.

There are all sorts of things that can be said about the unfairness of it all. Dirt can be kicked, words thrown about and tears shed. But in the end, life is what it is. We have to play the hand we’re dealt, whether we complain about it or not.

Big Face gets that. At just 18 years old, Big Face is phenomenal at making the best out of the down right frustrating situations in life.

This kid knew the hard road that was ahead of him. He grasped how tough it was going to be to choose to leave the familiar and beloved. But he also grasped that nothing worth having comes easily. So with a grace that defies his age, Big Face walked around that conference room. He hugged each and every person who took the time to show up. He posed for pictures. Then he sat down to take it all in. And when he moves to Columbus, Ga., he will be tasked with the difficult charge of making new friends, learning a new scheme and earning his stripes all over again. But odds are, Big Face will still have that same smile that drew every individual to that conference room at Demopolis High Friday.

In the educational environment, it is typically the older teaching the younger. But anyone who ever spent time around Michael “Big Face” Davis learned from him about grace and faith and how to smile wide in the big face of adversity.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.