SPRINGVILLE — BYU football's defensive line met together Thursday night to grant a man his final wish: to see the team he loved more than any other, together with the family he loved more than anything else.
Don Terry is in the advanced stages of pancreatic, liver and bile duct cancer. He was recently told he has months, if not weeks, to live, so he is spending the time with his family, all of whom share his intense love of the Cougars. When his hospice asked if he had a wish they could grant, family members knew nothing would make Terry happier than a visit from his beloved team.
"I couldn't have asked for a better father, a better example in my life, than my dad has been," his son, Mark Terry, said. "It means so much — dad is a huge fan, and I think something that makes him happy at this stage is important to him."
Nine members of the defensive line crowded into the room with him and assorted family members. They apologized for the heat, but it was a small room and there were a lot of football players, all of whom were grateful to be there.
"I enjoy this more than practice, more than games," sophomore linebacker Alani Fua said. "That feeling … you feel something different, here. Seeing fans that way, it makes you see football in a different perspective. It reminds you that you aren't just playing for yourself. You're playing for something bigger."
Senior defensive lineman Romney Fuga said experiences like these are humbling for the players.
"These strangers we meet, they love BYU, they love the football program … experiences like these help us realize how big of an impact we can have on the community," he said. "I'm really glad we came."
As was Terry: he said the experience was one he would never forget.
‘It was unbelievable to have nine football players in my home," he said. "When all these guys came in, it floored me. I don't know if I could take that again."
He said he loves BYU football because it is unlike anything else.
"They play the game the way it should be played; they're good sports," he said. "You don't see the malicious nonsense you get out of some of the other teams."
"This was quite a deal," Terry continued. ‘I'll never forget this."