Social media has the power to make the world smaller, and Instagram gave a local 8th-grade football player the opportunity to communicate with his idol.
Luke Anderson, who attends and plays for Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Worth, suits up at quarterback and linebacker. Senior TCU football player Ty Summers was a quarterback in high school until he transitioned to linebacker at TCU.
“I’ve always wanted to talk to him, but I just started getting serious with football, so I thought I could use some help,” Anderson said.
Anderson direct messaged him on Instagram, but he did not expect a reply because of Summers’ popularity. Summers has over 8,000 followers on Instagram.
“Most people like that are super busy and most people like that wouldn’t answer because they have a lot of followers,” Anderson said.
Summers replied, and to Anderson’s astonishment, he even reviewed his game film.
“He said, ‘Hey Luke,’ and it just went from there,” Anderson said. “I asked him for pointers and hoped he would get back to me and he responded to me within 30 minutes.”
Summers said he was going to try to come to one of his middle school football games.
“Most athletes would just say they would try, but they wouldn’t mean it,” Anderson said. “With Ty, I knew he was a kind enough person that I thought he will probably come.”
The only problem was timing.
“Unfortunately, all his games started at 5:30, which conflicts with our practice so I wasn’t able to,” Summers said.
But the rain throughout October had a silver lining. Rain delayed the kickoff time for the Oct. 18 matchup between Calvary Christian and Trinity Christian Academy, giving Summers an opportunity to attend.
“It was in Aledo, so only about 25 minutes so I figured why not,” Summers said. “I know that if I was a kid that looked up to a college athlete that it would mean a lot if he came to my game too.”
Midway through the first quarter of Luke’s game, Ty arrived, and the Anderson family was stunned.
“I told my brother, Luke’s uncle, and a number of other people that my son thought Ty might be there and we were all thinking that’s just not going to happen,” said Tim, Luke’s dad. “When he showed up, my brother and I saw the guy in purple walking into the stadium.”
Summers was part of the Anderson family for a night. He stood beside the family the entire game.
“Once we saw him in the stands, we greeted him and he was with us the rest of the game,” Tim said. “It was awesome having him right there putting in his two cents right there as Luke was playing. Ty was commenting on every single play.”
Summers watched as Luke applied Summers’ advice on defense to shuffle his feet and then run to the ball carrier instead of running immediately to go make the tackle. On offense, Luke remembered to keep the football tucked tightly under his arm.
According to his dad, Luke played his best game that night, recording two touchdowns, two passing and two rushing.
“His defense at linebacker was top-notch,” Tim said. “He definitely stepped it up knowing Ty was there. They won 48-36.”
The Anderson’s hope the game visit wasn’t the last they’ll see of Summers, which appears to be the case.
“I messaged Ty and said ‘I hope he’s not driving you crazy’ and he responded by saying ‘Absolutely not, Luke’s a good kid,’” Tim said.