This is not a story just about football, though much of this true tale does revolve around the game. The Park family business of logging and running a sawmill just didn't allow time for the four brothers to participate in athletics. In hign school Randy Park was shy and not doing that well with the girls. He could see that the football players had the edge on popularity and finally his dad gave in and allowed him to play. Knowing nothing about the game, only a couple of early practice player's inuries gave him the opportunity to even be on the team.
By the time Randy was a senior he was a starter on the Big Rapoids Cardinals football team. Football brought him out of his shell and his social life was as good as he could have hoped for. Unexpectedly however, football became more than the means to popularity, it became the center of his life. Randy had a short- lived football experience at Ferris University, but a Michigan Charity football league gave him the opportunity to play football with a Big Rapids team, the Brewers. With the Brewers Randy could team up with some former high school, college and even professional athletes that wanted a few more years playing the game.
Life was good for Randy. Parties, girls,Brewer football, coaching and being a part of the family business filled his life. But then as a 21-year-old, there was a motorcycle accident that eventually led to below the knee amputation of his right leg.
Randy wasn't embarrassed about being an amputee, but like a lot of others in the same situation he struggled to regain what he had lost. Eventually he did play contact football again for the Brewers, and even organized an ampiutee contact football team. When the family logging business failed Randy decided to go back to college. He attained a degree in special education and became a special-ed teacher.
As a special efducation teavcher Randy was on the leading edge of the inclusion program in the State. This program moved many special needs students into the general-ed classroom, and the result was an improvement for the students, teachers and community.
Yes there are football stories here but many of them are about the individuals not the game. There is also an array of special-ed stories that open up topics not often familiar to the general public.
As all of us know, life presents many obstacles and Randy experienced them all, in teaching, coaching and as a family man. Additionally he had to deal with many problems asssociated with his disability, both medical and psychological.
This is an inspirational story for all ages. It will be especially meaningful to teachers, coaches, amputees and anyone else that desires to read a positive uplifting life story.