By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
LOS ANGELES – Greetings, and welcome to a New Year’s Eve edition of the California Dreamin’ blog.
The Florida State Seminoles took time after practice Tuesday to create a special moment for a fan who has carved out a special place with the team.
Payton Poulin is a 20-year-old student at FSU who has a rare condition called schizencephaly, a developmental birth defect that’s similar to cerebral palsy. He uses a wheelchair to get around and has become a fixture at FSU football practices after befriending former Seminoles receiver Kenny Shaw.
On Tuesday, with the help of FSU quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive end DeMarcus Walker, Payton walked 20 yards while the rest of the Seminoles huddled around, cheering him on to a simulated touchdown.
Seminoles.com’s Layne Herdt captured the stirring scene on video:
“He’s part of our family,” an emotional Jimbo Fisher said. “He’s what life is about.”
“It was so amazing,” Payton’s father, Patrick Poulin, said. “He’s so inspired by this team and he’s so inspired as a person just to be better and be a better person.”
That Payton is even here in California is remarkable. He made the trip to Pasadena for last year’s BCS National Championship Game, but Payton’s father, Patrick, initially told him that a trip to the Rose Bowl wouldn’t be possible.
Payton, though, was determined to join the Seminoles, and thanks to the donations of FSU fans, many of whom were familiar with Payton’s story, he was able to make his way back to California.
“Thank you to all the fans and alumni,” Patrick Poulin said. “We wouldn’t have been here without them.”
For more on Payton’s relationship with the Seminoles, check out this video by Scott Kotick from last season: