The Carolina Panthers made an 8-year-old's dream come true Saturday when they made him an honorary coach for the day at the team's practice.
Jack Bolton, a lifelong fan of the team who is suffering from spinal muscular atrophy, received the opportunity through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He wrote a pregame speech, signed an official contact, tracked stats and met all of his favorite players.
According to the Panthers' official website, he was too nervous to read the speech so Coach Ron Rivera stepped in and read it for him. "Even if you [lose] a few times," he wrote, "your fans will still be happy because everybody knows the Panthers are AWESOME."
At the end of practice, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton asked for Bolton's autograph.
This wasn't Bolton's first time coaching, according to his mom, Holly Bolton.
"He's been coaching his friends at recess for several years, lining them up and calling plays," she told Panthers.com. "He's very interested in coaching, so when he got to make a wish, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted to coach the Panthers."
A Panthers' spokesman told News 14 that the budding coach was anything but a regular fan on the sidelines.
"Jack was on it all day, charting the plays throughout the practice and then turning those back into Coach Rivera for post-practice evaluation when looking at game tapes," Panthers spokesman Riley Fields said.
His pay? According to his mom: Unlimited hot dogs and drinks.