"My Friend, John Beck."

Seattle, Washington is home to a special young girl by the name of Aubrey Thompson. Recently Aubrey, who was born with down syndrome, discovered she loves BYU football and has found a new friend in BYU quarterback John Beck.

Aubrey is a fun loving young girl who discovered a few years ago how much she loved the game of football. After her father Jett bought the PC version of Madden 2003, Aubrey was hooked. With a picture of BYU quarterback John Beck and the BYU schedule on the screen of that same personal computer, the Thompson family now hears the words, "My friend, John Beck," more from their daughter than John Madden's colorful video game commentary metaphors.

This Wednesday, October 5th, is Aubrey's birthday, so the idea of being able to do something special for a special young girl seemed appropriate.

Not only will Aubrey's new friend John Beck go to the BYU football office to sign an autographed poster for her as a birthday present, but she also got her chance to talk to her new friend and ask him a few questions. Beck was happy to know he has a new friend in Aubrey and wanted to give her the following message:

"Well Aubrey, I think it's great that I have such a good friend out there like you that I didn't even know about but found out about just today. I want you to know that I'll always be a friend of yours and you can always know that. Every time you see me on the football field or on t.v. you can know that I'm your good friend number twelve."

Following Family Home Evening, Aubrey and her family sat together and came up with a few questions for the Cougar quarterback. The first question Aubrey wanted to know was why John Beck chose the number twelve for his jersey number.

John Beck said: "Okay Aubrey, so here is how I got the number twelve. I was eight years old and I had played a year of flag football the year before that and I was number fourteen because my idle was Ty Detmer. So, I was number 14 then but going into my first year of Pop Warner football to play tackle football, our head coach [Pat Ramos] didn't let us pick our numbers but he chose our numbers for what he felt fit us, and so the day when we got our numbers came around and the coach gave me number twelve. I was mad because I wanted to be number 14 because I wanted to be like Ty Detmer, but he gave me number twelve. I think my coach was a big Terry Bradshaw fan, and from then on the number has stayed with me. I've been playing football since I was eight years old and I've never played a football season without the number twelve. Since that day I've never had any other number but the number twelve. My coach old Pop Warner coach Pat Ramos still lives down in Arizona and I'm still good friends with him. So I guess Aubrey I didn't choose my number, he did."

Prior to the BYU home game with TCU, the Thompson family came down to Provo to drop off another daughter who is entering the mission field. To Aubrey's excitement, the Thompson family was going to catch the BYU game with the Horned Frogs during their short visit to Utah. Wearing her favorite BYU T-shirt, Aubrey saw her new friend wearing number twelve run out onto the field in person.

Since then, Aubrey has wanted to ask John Beck what his favorite food before a football game is.

"Well Aubrey, before games I can't usually eat a lot of food, but usually my favorite things to eat are just protein bars and Powerade or Gatorade," said Beck. "Before games at the hotels we get a lot of Gatorades, so me and Lance Reynolds will have a stash of about ten to twelve Gatorades in our rooms because that's our favorite things to eat because we like to hydrate ourselves up before the games. But if it's just real food, I really like to eat any kind of meat and I like mash potatoes a lot before games too. I don't know if it's good for me to do that, but I can eat a big dish of mash potatoes before a game with some kind of meat, but mostly I just drink Gatorades and eat power bars before games."

Aubrey also wanted to know how Beck can throw the football as far as he does.

"You know what Aubrey; I honestly don't know how I throw the ball so far. Ever since I was little I was this little skinny, red-headed kid that could just throw the football really far. I don't know why or how but was just blessed with an arm to be able to do so. It's something that I've tried to take care of and work on, and some people have asked me how come I can do that. They saw all the bigger kids and how far they could throw it, but then they would see this skinny little redheaded kid throwing the football just as far, and they couldn't figure out how I could,

Having an older sister that has just recently entered the Missionary Training Center, Aubrey wanted to know if John has any brothers or sisters as well.

"Yes, I have one brother who is twenty-two years old and right now is serving a mission in the Dominican Republic. He's serving in the south of the Domingo East Mission and he plays football and will be coming back to BYU in May. My brother's name is Andrew but he goes by Rudy. I have a little sister who is seventeen years old and she goes here to BYU. She dances on the Cougarettes during our games and her name is Annalisa but she goes by Anna."

Along with the sport of football, it appears Aubrey also enjoys basketball. She wanted to ask John if he enjoys playing basketball as much like he likes suiting up for a game of football at Lavell Edwards Stadium.

"Do I like to play basketball? Well Aubrey, when I was little I really liked to play basketball, but as I got older I had to decide which sport I liked the best. So, in high school I choose football and baseball and coming out of high school I just now focus on football, but my wife Barbara and her whole family plays basketball. She played in high school and her brothers played at Dixie College down in St. George, and because she loves the game so much me and her will go out and shoot hoops a lot. One of her favorite things to do is go out and shoot some basketball with me, so I still have to work on my basketball skills so I can win once in awhile when I play against her."

The final question she wanted to ask her new friend was one spiritual in nature. Aubrey wanted to know what John's favorite Book of Mormon story was.

"You know what Aubrey? I have a lot of favorite Book of Mormon stories. I have so many favorites that I don't know if I can just pick one because my favorites change so much depending on what I'm going through in life, but right now I would have to say the one story that is my favorite right now is the story of Captain Moroni. Just how he led his armies into battle and how he was so prepared and trusted so much in the Lord. He had such strong faith and I think it's just amazing."

John wanted Aubrey to know what one of his favorite scripture from the Book of Mormon currently is, and it's one that describes the character of a person who had so much adversity in his own life but was able to achieve so much.

"One of my favorite scriptures is in Alma that talks about Captain Moroni where it says if everyone where like unto Moroni than the very powers of hell would shake. I think that is such an amazing story about a person who achieved what he did with great faith and knowledge. He was an amazing person and I look up to Captain Moroni even though I have many favorite Book of Mormon stories and look up to many people in those stories, but right in my life right now I really love the story of Captain Moroni and the things he did and the type of person he was."

So happy birthday to you Aubrey, and know that BYU quarterback John Beck thinks of you as a friend as well.


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