U-Pick-Em win comes just in time

Heyward Trapp and his mom, Doris Trapp, hold the two $100 bills that Trapp won in The Voice’s annual U Pick ‘Em College Bowl contest. | Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – When Blythewood resident Heyward Trapp received a phone call informing him that he had won $200 in The Voice’s U Pick ‘Em College Bowl context, Trapp said the timing couldn’t have been better.

“My furnace broke recently and the bill for fixing it is about $150.” Trapp said. “That’s great, just in time,” he said, transmitting a broad smile over the phone. “What luck!”

But after picking the wrong team in the first three bowls that included his beloved Gamecocks, Trapp, 51, said he began to doubt his gaming skills.

“I thought…this is not good,” he recalled with a laugh. “Then Iowa was up. I looked at the card and wondered why I picked Iowa. Then, they won! Things were looking better. Then there were some high-scoring wins by a couple of teams that were expected to lose. I got those.”

After Trapp picked several straight winners, Georgia (Trapp’s pick) lost. But even without the Bulldogs’ help, Trapp had already locked in the win. And he almost nailed the tie breaker, missing it by only one point. The total score for the national championship game was 60 and Trapp guessed 59. But he didn’t need it to win.

While Charles Harrison of Winnsboro also picked 12 bowls correctly, he lost his chance to split the jackpot because he failed to submit a tie breaker score which is required.

Trapp said he has entered the contest every year and kept hoping every year he would win.

“This was my lucky year, I guess,” he said with an expression of happy surprise as the money was presented to him at his home.

But Trapp’s easy grin and optimistic outlook belie his difficult circumstances.

Since sustaining a spinal cord injury 15 years ago while working as a backhoe operator during construction of Blythewood High School, Trapp has been dependent on the use of either a cane or wheelchair for mobility.

Now on disability, Trapp lives with his mom, Doris Trapp, in rural Blythewood in a home he purchased following the accident. The home sits on Doris’ family land.

“My mom grew up right here on this road, and I also grew up in Blythewood,” Trapp said. “I love it out here. This house is small, but it’s comfortable,” he said, looking around the tidy living room.

While his world is largely limited to his home now because of his injury, Trapp’s goal is continued independence. He tries to stay active, he said, using his cane instead of the wheelchair as often as possible. And he is quick to celebrate what’s good in his life.

“I was told I would be in a wheelchair in five years. But I’m not,” he said. “I try to get out every day and walk out to the mail box to get the mail. To a lot of people, that’s nothing. But to me, it’s a big deal.”

But the mail box is at the bottom of a slope of ground which makes the maneuver tricky with a cane and impossible in a wheelchair.

To facilitate his daily round trip for the mail, Trapp said he’s been scanning the classifieds recently for a good used, reasonably priced golf cart.

“That would make it a lot easier for me to get out and around, to go to the mailbox,” Trapp said. “It would make a big difference.”

Posing for a photo on the front porch of his home, Trapp and his mom each held up one of the two $100 bills he was presented. After the photo shoot and before going back into the house, Trapp paused, scanning the surrounding rural area from the porch. Perhaps buoyed by the unexpected win or maybe it was his seemingly unwavering optimism, Trapp once again reflected on the good side of his life.

“It’s really nice out here,” he said. “I love it.”