By: Peter Terpstra
LINCOLN - Norman Neeman is a 78-year-old farmer who's spending a stint at The Ambassador - a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility - in Lincoln.
Neeman is a short-term rehab patient working to get his strength back after suffering an injury.
According to his nurse Tracy Richardson, Neeman was a "grumpy old man" and sometimes would be difficult to work with.
At first, Neeman was discouraged in his rehab. After all, he was alone, away from home and had to take on the difficult task of getting back on his feet.
Then, he heard about the Malcolm Clippers football season.
Richardson's boyfriend has a son on the team: junior wide receiver Tucker McHugh. The Clippers put together their best season in school history—rattling off seven straight wins and reaching the state semifinals for the first time.
Richardson found a way to connect with her patient by telling him about the Clippers success. Neeman took an interest in the Clippers and began to ask questions about McHugh and the team.
According to Richardson, his attitude changed. He got some "pep in his step" and took on a much more positive attitude in his rehab.
Neeman kept tabs on the Clippers. and the Clippers kept tabs on Neeman. Eventually the team would visit Neeman and hand him his own personalized Malcolm Clippers jersey.
The Clippers still have an impact on Norman Neeman. A few days before Christmas, some players visited Neeman again with gifts to give.
Neeman was happy to receive his own blue Malcolm Clippers throw blanket, along with a framed, autographed, picture of the group together.
Sometimes sports offer unexpected inspiration to others. In this case, a local football team continues to inspire Norman Neeman regain his strength.