HILLSBOROUGH, England — The night was cold, the wind chill of minus 35F.
A few minutes later, the rain had settled, and I was standing in the rain in the back yard of my house in Yorkshire, England, just a few minutes from my home in the northern English city of Coventry.
The sun had come out and I felt great.
That was the first time I’d ever felt anything like it.
I had just spent two months with a young man named Sam Biddle, who had just graduated from university and who was now a soccer player with Coventry FC.
Biddle had been diagnosed with the terminal illness that would make his last hours and weeks of his life agonizingly painful.
His condition was terminal.
It had already caused his death.
Biddle, 20, had played a season for Coventry in the U-17 and U-21 sides.
The year before, he had also been playing professionally with the Sydney Victory, where he had scored three goals in seven games.
The last two years, Biddle was in and out of the hospital recovering from several injuries that had made his life even more difficult.
But the diagnosis and his struggle with his illness had brought out the best in him.
Biddes family and friends were so grateful to him, so dedicated to his recovery, so much of his drive and drive to make the most of every day.
“He had always been an incredibly driven kid,” his father, Steve Biddle told me, sitting in the living room of his home.
“And as he got older and started to play, his personality just changed.
He had that great spirit.
He’d been through a lot, but when it came to football he just was unstoppable.”
A football career for Sam Biddens father, a father of two, was over.
Sam Bids death brought out his best attributes, the intensity and commitment to a game, Steve explained.
“Sam had always got better as he played.
He was a really strong kid, and he always pushed himself,” he said.
“He was very competitive.
He always wanted to be the best.
He never stopped.
And that’s where his passion was, and that’s what drove him to be at the top level of the game.
He would play a team and go to training and he’d be the first guy there and he was going to be there the whole day.”
Sam Biddle played for Covent City from 2008 to 2014.
He spent seven seasons with the club, and the last four with Covent.
Biddles dad said that Sam’s first love was football, and as he started to get older, he became more and more committed to playing.
“I would tell him that if he got a chance to play for Covt, he was the best player in the world,” Steve said.
“And he’d always say, ‘That’s what I’m going to do, I’m gonna play for you.’
He was so committed, and now he’s gone.”
Biddes father is a lifelong football fan, and Steve said that was his reason for coming to Coventry at the start of this year.
“We’ve always been close, we grew up in the same village, we’ve got a lot of the same things in common,” Steve Bidds said.
But despite his love for football, Sam had other passions.
He wanted to become a surgeon, but Steve explained that Sam was never one to be taken in by a new idea.
Bidds was born in the village of Dromore in Lancashire, where his family has been farming since the 1840s.
His father was a farmer who had grown up on the family homestead.
But when Sam was about eight years old, his mother died, leaving behind a career as a seamstress.
His mother worked as a nurse, but that was before the war, so Sam’s father worked the land as a tailor and the farm became a place of refuge for his young family.
Sam Biddis dad would not have gone through life without his son, and even when Sam’s family struggled financially, they remained steadfast.
“When I first got the news that he had terminal cancer, I was absolutely devastated,” Steve told me.
I just did everything I could.””
When he got the diagnosis, I knew that I had to do everything in my power to help him.
I just did everything I could.”
Biddle would be the only son of Steve and Julie Biddle.
He and Julie’s younger sister, Sarah, was pregnant when Sam got the disease.
Bidding to see her would have meant risking his own health, and Bidders dad knew that his only hope was his son.
Bids parents were so committed to Sam, they wanted him to make it through.
“My dad was always