On Monday nights, the Shamgochian family in Turlock gathers around the television to watch football. On this particular Monday night, football means a whole lot more than just a game.
"Wow, you can start," Steve said to his wife, Amy.
"I'm gonna cry, I just know it," Amy replied.
The couple is still brought to tears when thinking about what happened under the Friday night lights earlier in the weekend. Their son Steven, a senior on Pitman High School's football team, scored the winning touchdown of their final home game of the season.
"The student body was chanting 'Steve-O! Steve-O!" grinned Steve, Steven's father. "It was a rockstar-ish moment."
Steven has autism and his parents said they just never knew what he would be able to do and what he wouldn't be able to do.
"We just knew he loved sports," said Amy.
"That was his first love. He'd have a bad day, put the golf channel on, he'd be fine," added Steve.
In addition to football and golf, Steven also plays baseball. His favorite team is the San Francisco Giants. His room is decorated orange and filled with sports memorabilia.
"Going into high school seemed scary," said Amy. "But it's been totally the opposite from day 1.
Steve and Amy said one of the best parts of being Steven's parents is seeing the effect he has on people, despite the challenges he faces.
"Growing up, it was different challenges at every turn. Some struck hard, some you just deal with and keep moving on," reflected Steve. "The most amazing thing, just watching the love that he shares to people."
And those people give the love right back.
The day before Pitman's last game against Golden Valley High School, one of the coaches called Steven's parents with the idea. The opposing team was also on board with the idea and even helped celebrate Steven's victory touchdown.
"He said 'We wanna do this for you and Steven and your family. But really this is gonna be for everybody. You're gonna see,'" explained Amy. "It's gonna be for everybody in the stadium and beyond. And sure enough it was."
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