Originally published Oct. 7
Southwestern University’s offense wouldn’t be in as good of a place without all-conference receiver Micah Sherman.
“Right now, he’s irreplaceable,” said head coach Joe Austin, whose team plays in the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
And Sherman knows what it’s like to not be in a good place. “I was very bitter and very angry about all the things that happened,” Sherman reflected. “Why didn’t they like? Whey didn’t they love me?”
He was born in Russia, his name: Sergey. But Sherman’s birth parents did not give him much more than a name. At least nothing pleasant.
“My parents were both very abusive, and they were alcoholics,” Micah explained. “We didn’t have electricity, we didn’t have running water. We didn’t have beds, we didn’t really have food. Our meals consisted of eating bugs off the ground.”
Prior to the age of six, Micah, along with his brother and sister, moved into an orphanage. The alcohol and the abuse were gone, but what was present are reasons that Russian orphanage is now closed.
“I never owned anything,” Sherman noted. “I didn’t have any toys. We had to share clothes. We still spent a lot of time digging in trashcans trying to find food.”
Approaching his 10th birthday, Micah weighed 42 pounds — the average weight of a kindergartner in the U.S. But when he and his two siblings were adopted by Jeff and Heidi Sherman of Justin, Texas, Micah finally had not just a full belly, but a full heart.
“I felt like I was living the American dream,” Sherman said smiling. “Because I’d never seen anything like that.”
Even though he couldn’t read, write or speak English when he came to America, Sherman had no trouble understanding the magnitude of his blessing.
“A lot of the kids that we get — they want a lot of things,” Austin said. “They expect to be given a lot of things. Micah doesn’t expect a thing from anybody.”
He should expect the ball, though. Last season, as a sophomore, Sherman led the conference in receptions. He hauls in just about everything.
But what Micah doesn’t catch is sympathy. Because he doesn’t want it.
“You feel for him, but you don’t have to, because he’s not looking for that,” Austin said, fighting back tears. “But you have so much pride in what he was able to do.”
“If it wasn’t for the things that I’ve gone through, I don’t think I would be where I am today,” Micah admitted. “Because of the things that it taught me, the perseverance, the not giving up — going through the hard times and still having a positive mind.”
Still humble after overcoming humble beginnings. It doesn’t matter how many passes Sherman catches this season, or the rest of his career for that matter – because no gain will be greater than the one he’s already received.