Let me begin by saying that this story first appeared in Sports Illustrated Kids way back in December of 2012, just over a month ago, which is roughly seven decades in blog years, but we haven’t covered it on Babble (according to a quick site search), and we need to.
It is the story of Cayden Long (7), who has Spastic Cerebral Palsy. He is not able to walk or speak without assistance. And it is the story of his brother, Conner Long (9), who, it turns out, is the best assist man in the game.
The setting may be sport, but the tale of Team Long Brothers is bigger than that. Sport is the springboard, but the bond between brothers is the story, and it is one of inspiration. It is also a bit of a tearjerker.
I could go on and on (as I tend to do) about the Long boys, and the reason that they were named Sports Illustrated’s Sportskids of the Year, but this video does a much better job:
Their mother, Jenny Long, has a blog, Rolling With Team Long Brothers, that documents their family adventures and explains how the dynamic duo of Conner and Cayden started racing together:
“Conner had always longed to play outside and ride bikes with his brother, but the odds where a little against him until one day his mom was reading through a Nashville Parent Magazine and stumbled across a Kids Triathlon taking place. Conner was wondering what the kids where doing on the page and his mom told them they where racing in a Triathlon, Conner mentioned doing it with his brother and asked his mom. Well, mom didn’t want to say no, but knew she had to put her brains together and first get permission from the people at the race. She got the okay from the race people and so it was, Team Long Brothers!!!!! Conner and Cayden participated in their first Triathlon as a team on June 5th at the Nashville Kids Triathlon neither did they place 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd what mattered is they made a connection that day that as brothers they will never forget!!! “
My boys are roughly the same age as the Long brothers, which really makes this story hit home. It is a wonderful bond, and the Long boys are showing the world how strong it can be.
I cannot pretend to understand what life is like for the Longs, but I can appreciate the strength of heart and character that Conner has shown, and I can only imagine how proud they must be of their sons.
Parenting, to stick with the metaphor, is its own race, and, in my experience, a team built on brotherly love wins the championship every time, regardless of where they cross the finish line. The whole Long family deserves kudos for that.
Keep rolling, boys. We’re cheering for you.