Colt Anderson showing kids how to follow their dreams

Colt Anderson showing kids how to follow their dreams

At a high school softball game last week, I stood by Colt Anderson as he was texting me information about his football camp next month.

“Oops,” he said, “that’s Nick Foles, not you.”

Yes, Anderson almost mistakenly sent the text to Nick Foles, the Super Bowl LII MVP, instead of me.

Surprisingly, that would not have been the first time I have been mixed up with Foles, who has the best name in the NFL and is a former teammate of Anderson.

Since Foles stepped in for an injured Carson Wentz and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl title, I have often been mistakenly mentioned in tweets meant for the quarterback.

Foles’ Twitter handle is @NickFoles, while mine is @Foles74. It’s an easy mistake.

Here’s the thing, though, most of the tweets were mean. Yes, the tweets meant to be sent to the guy who won the Super Bowl were, for the most part, were telling me to take a hike.

I have also been mistaken for the Bill Foley who owns, among many other things, the NHL’s Vegas Golden Nights. I get these tweets even though my Twitter profile specifically says I’m not the “rich Bill Foley.”

Yes, those tweets are also nasty, and not because the rich Bill Foley is one of those guys who thinks he can own a mountain. I’ve been mistakenly tweeted at because an NHL player was arrested for domestic violence, and I have been mistakenly tweeted at because people didn’t like the name of the team.

Not one person has tweeted to congratulate me for the amazing run to the Stanley Cup Finals my Golden Knights made in their first year of existence.

When it comes to pro sports, we focus more on the negative than the positive. We spend more time rooting against teams than we do cheering for them.

We always hear about players with a sever lack of character instead of the ones who have it spilling out of their pockets. Especially on Twitter.

If it were the other way around, Colt Anderson would be the lead on SportsCenter every night.

Anderson is a free agent after spending nine NFL seasons with the Vikings, Eagles, Colts and Bills. He has played long enough to earn an NFL pension, and he has made a pretty good chunk of money.

Sure, Anderson hasn’t made Foles money, but he’s done OK. Plus, Anderson owns the Mo Club in Missoula and, along with his brother and friend, he started the UpTop Clothing Co.

In case you haven’t noticed, every kid in town is currently wearing something made by the UpTop Clothing Co.

So, Anderson has clearly done enough that he could retire and stay out of the limelight forever.

Anderson, though, is the favorite player of every boy and girl in town, and he’s using that to better the community and beyond. Along with his wife Keelie, Anderson started the Colt Anderson Dream Big Foundation.

The foundation is dedicated to creating positive change for children by providing resources, innovative opportunities and experiences that will empower them to find their passion to dream big and success.

The foundation is putting on a two-day event late next month. It includes a camp and a family fun day.

What Anderson is doing is such an amazing thing for children, especially the many children of Butte who can really use a role model. There is no way you can put a price tag on having a positive influence in your life.

But Anderson is much more a great role model for kids. He’s a role model for every person who has ever battled with self-doubt.

The Mining City has turned out tons of athletes who were bigger, stronger and faster than Colt Anderson. But Anderson dreamed big, and he had the heart, desire and courage to match those dreams.

In 2003, Anderson played running back and safety for a Butte High football team that lost all nine of its games. The team, though, was better than record would indicate. Teams knew they were in a fight when the game was over.

They specifically knew they played against a tough kid named Colt Anderson, who went on to play in the Montana East-West Shrine Game.

When smaller schools like Montana Tech were offering scholarship money, Anderson dreamed bigger. He didn’t listen to those of us who thought he should play NAIA football and start instead of sit on the bench for four years in Missoula.

At UM, Anderson quickly made a name for himself. He went from walk on to All-American to legend. By the end of his senior season in 2008, Anderson was revered by Griz Nation every bit as much as he is loved in the Mining City.

Still, Anderson dreamed bigger.

When the NFL draft came and went in April of 2009, Anderson signed an undrafted contract with the Vikings. When he didn’t make the 53-man roster after training camp, Anderson hung onto his dream.

He spent a season and a half on the Vikings practice squad before signing with Philadelphia, where his hard-nosed style quickly won over the toughest fan base in all of sports. When the playoffs rolled around, Anderson was a team captain.

Even though we keep stats of every little thing in sports, you will not find a list of players who went from the practice squad to team captain in the same season. If you did, it would probably only contain one name, and that is because Anderson never stopped dreaming big.

He couldn’t be stopped by a torn ACL or an arm that he badly broke twice. He still played in six NFL playoff games. He was the best special teams player in each one of those games, too.

Since he will turn 33 in October, Anderson could be at the end of his NFL run. He would still be one of the better special teams players in the league, but teams can find somebody who is 10 years younger do the same job for a quarter of the price.

Anderson still works out every morning, and he will be ready for the call from a team if and when it comes.

The worst thing anyone could do is bet against him.

Since his days as a Butte High Bulldog, Colt Anderson has been the posterchild for those who dare to dream big and have the courage to follow those dreams.

He is the epitome of the perfect role model, and Butte and Montana are lucky to have him.

Make no mistake about it.

— Bill Foley, who would rather be mistaken for Nick Foles than the rich Bill Foley, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74



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