After the conclusion of Colorado's 44-36 win over Kansas State Saturday, and after joining his team in singing the CU Fight Song in front of both the student section and CU Band section, CU quarterback Cody Hawkins was ready to head off the field to revel in victory with his teammates and family. As Cody turned around to walk toward the CU locker room where more celebration awaited, two members of the CU football staff asked him to accompany them to the fan section railings near the 50-yard line. Chants of "Cody, Cody..." arose from the cadre of CU fans in the section towards which Cody was being escorted. Waiting there with a large framed picture was Pat Grimes, longstanding member and past President of the CU Buff Club.
Pat leaned over to Cody and read him the words engraved on the item he was holding, which spoke of heart, determination, grit and desire. He then handed the Colorado senior the 13th Annual Buffalo Heart Award, awarded by the fans in Section 119 and other fans behind the Colorado bench to the one player who most exhibited those four qualities during the season. Cody took the award from Pat, thanked him and the dozens of fans nearby several times, then, with a wide smile, held up the award to the cheers of Buffalo supporters. One fan told him nobody has ever deserved the award more.
What came next from the gritty young man was something never seen in all of the years since the award was first presented in 1998. To give thanks for the award and presumably to honor the fans for their support, Cody started at the 50-yard line and shook the hands or high-fived virtually every fan that stood along the railings until he got to the north end of the field. He then headed to the locker room, Buffalo Heart Award in hand, to the cheers of the throngs of CU fans crowding the near corner of the northeast stands.
Above the north stands on a balcony of the Dal Ward Center, Misti Hawkins watched as her son received the award and personally thanked the fans, touching hands and hearts all along the way. She beamed the biggest smile for the longest time, the proudest mother amongst many proud parents of the last Colorado Buffaloes to play a Big XII game in Folsom Field. This moment willl stand out among many great autumn memories in the rich history and traditions of University of Colorado football. Live on, Buffaloes, this season and the many seasons to come.