In tough times, words of encouragement from someone you admire often mean more than anything. It can change your perspective and provide motivation to persevere.
That is certainly the case for Rory O'Regan, a third grader and Patriots fan in upstate New York who was bullied for rocking his Chris Hogan jersey to school. According to Rory's mom, Frances, her son was being made fun of for being a Patriots fan.
"Rory wore his No. 15 jersey to school, and I wore my No. 12 the Friday before the AFC Championship game to show our support for the Patriots. Not soon after arriving at school, he broke down and was tearful," she said. "He said that people were saying mean things to him because of the jersey ... He was afraid of wearing his jersey and wanted to take it off."
Rory is the youngest of four children, and his father passed away when he was younger. Because his dad was from Ireland, Frances said Chris Hogan's Irish name is part of the reason her son latched onto him.
And what Chris did after learning about Rory's difficult time cemented his place as Rory's favorite Patriot. Chris sent the young fan a personal video encouraging him to stay true to himself, no matter what people say.
"I heard you were going through a little tough time at school supporting our team. I just want you to know that we appreciate all your support and everything you guys do throughout the season," Chris said in the video. "We love our fans and we love all of our fans all over the country. I just want you to remember to always believe in yourself."
Chris also passed along sage words from his coach.
"Never stop believing in yourself and never stop believing in everything you want to do in life. Always continue to work hard and don't worry about it. This is what Coach Belichick always says, ‘Block out all the noise. Don't worry about what other people think about you. Don't worry about what other people say,'" Chris said. "Just continue to believe in yourself, surround yourself with people that love you and support you and I know that you have a family that loves you and supports you. You are part of our family of fans that love and support us. I hope that you'll continue to wear that jersey proudly."
The gesture, though just a few minutes of his day, made a difference for Rory.
"To sum it up, he was overwhelmed with joy and just kept saying, 'This is the best day of my life' over and over again," Frances. "I think that on the 10th time that he watched it he started actually listening to all the words instead of just reacting to it being Chris Hogan talking to him."
And as a mother, she said it was even more incredible to see.
"I was absolutely floored. [I] was not expecting anything like this. It was more than remarkable and I think speaks volumes for the values and integrity of Chris Hogan as a man and as a representative of the Patriots and NFL," Frances said. "The fact that he took the time to record this message is absolutely amazing."
You can hear Chris's message to Rory in the video below.