If your faith in humanity is on life support these days, allow us to present the coolest sports story in San Diego.
It involves a hockey team whose coach had a vision and persevered like an ultramarathoner to see it through.
He has negotiated with business owners, procured thousands of dollars worth of grants, and charmed lawyers into pro bono services. He has turned rivals into allies, filled children with joy, and moved grown men to tears.
The name of his team is the San Diego Chill, which is composed of developmentally-disabled kids ages 7-13. And every Saturday, they practice at UTC Ice Sports Center for a total cost of $0.
Last month, an intrigued journalist tried calling this coach, but the woman who answered said he was still at school.
"At school?" the journalist asked.
"Yes," she said. "He's 14 years old."
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As part of his Bar Mitzvah in March 2013, Isaiah Granet dedicated his service project to one of his passions. That fact alone is not necessarily remarkable — many soon-to-be-teens complete a Mitzvah project as part of their Jewish coming of age celebration — but what Granet did with his obligation to serve most certainly is, and continues to change lives to this day.
Not content to settle for a single day or weekend of benevolence to mark off a box on a checklist, the San Diego youth hockey player turned to his favorite sport for inspiration. Now, two years later, the San Diego Chill ice hockey team teaches the game to more than two dozen special needs children each week, helping them learn the sport and gain acceptance one faceoff at a time.
"I've played hockey almost all my life and it's something I'm really passionate about," the soon-to-be 15-year-old Granet told FOX Sports in a phone interview Sunday. "So I decided that instead of doing a kind of one-time project, I wanted to do something that would actually change my community and help make a real difference."
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Fox Sports National
Fox 5 San Diego.