The tears just wouldn't stop. He had never cried in front of his young children before, and he knew it was confusing for them.
Sitting in the car, crying, for no apparent reason.
His wife noticed, too.
At first, he tried to play it off. "Something's in my eye," he said.
But when the tears kept flowing, she asked again.
"What's wrong, baby? You're crying," she said from the passenger's seat.
"Nothing," he responded from behind the wheel, watching the familiar scenery of this cross-country trip roll by through the tears. "Nothing's wrong."
It was the truth, and it wasn't. Alan Fletcher, a former Cleveland prep star and safety at the University of Cincinnati, a husband and a father, was just overcome by emotion. He was driving to see his adopted son play his final college home game. The boy he took in years before was now a man, ready to graduate and pursue his dreams of becoming a professional football player.
"From where he started," Fletcher said by phone last week, "none of this should even be possible."
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