If you are in the football field, #32 is a player you wouldn’t want to go up against, but off the field, he has a full heart.
Jonathan Edwards is a citizen of Kuna, Idaho, who spent his fall focusing on dominating his opponents on the football field, leading his team at Kuna High School through an undefeated season and onto the Southern Idaho Conference, nabbing the first win in school history. However, his actions before a game a month ago are what have put him at the center of a story which is motivating millions of people nationwide.
This past summer, Jonathan started working on his senior project, choosing the rather non-usual subject of American Sign Language. He spent all of his summer taking lessons in order to be would be able to use his new skill to sign the national anthem at one of his team’s home games.
“We do the national anthem every game, and I thought it would be a creative idea because you don’t ever see anyone doing that,” he explained. At one game in September, Jonathan did just about that. Anxiously, the team’s star running back climbed onto a small podium and signed the entire anthem while the crowd was watching shocked.
Jonathan’s mother Chrissy Edwards says that there’s no denying that her son was nervous about being in the spotlight, however, she was super proud of the way he stepped up to make a crucial statement about inclusion. “They definitely put him out there … He had to climb up on the podium in front of everyone,” she said.
Jonathan admits that he “definitely nervous” but as soon as he began, the teen made it all look incredibly effortless, moving his hands and arms to the well-loved lyrics in an amazing dance of silent understanding.
The crowd immediately started cheering as soon as Jonathan was finished. Head Coach Sherman Blaser said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house: “We all got the goosebumps, I guess that’s the best way to describe it. The way he presented it, it was beautiful.”
After the video of Jonathan went viral on Facebook, the entire town felt great pride for their student-athlete, but no one was more shocked by the video’s fame that it received than Jonathan and his family. Chrissy, though, says that she now understands why he was so nervous, “I think it a combination of the fact that it was patriotic, and he was putting himself out there to help communicate with people with a disability.” said Chrissy.
“To see the effort that he put in to learn the anthem in ASL, and then to be able to provide that service to our community was phenomenal,” said Coach Blaser, who added this compliment for the amazing of person Jonathan is both on and off the field. “The best way to describe him is he’s the kind of kid you want your kids to be.”
Jonathan is considering a career choice which will include ASL, saying that no matter what field he enters, his ability to help translate for the deaf community is now his top priority.
What a wonderful way to make a statement about inclusion and acceptance! With this beautiful gesture, Jonathan proved to the world that tough football players have heart and consideration for other people to spare.
The video should show up now! Our friends’ son Jonathan interpreted the National Anthem at the Kuna Varsity football game last night! He took classes from ASL Expressions this summer and made this part of his Senior project. Jonathan is interested in going to college to become an interpreter after high school! I thought it was awesome and had to share!
Posted by Whitney Gustin Pollard on Saturday, September 21, 2019