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Remember the 80s movie Big? In it, a 13 year old boy makes a wish to be ‘big’, and wakes up an adult. In the movie, the experience was fun, embarrassing, and understandably traumatic.

Imagine a magic hockey helmet that could instantly make you 10 years older? Sound fun?

Well as youngster Miller Donnelly explains in the 2006 video of grade school speech, it’s not.

Donnelly – 9 at the time of the recording – is a wonderful storyteller, weaving a descriptive and suspenseful tale that turns us on our heads (helmets mandatory!) with a heartbreaking punch line: his magic helmet makes him feel like a grownup because of the harsh and vulgar way adult spectators at games treat him when he’s wearing it.

Donnelly won top prize at his school for his speech, and his father recorded him delivering it and posted it on YouTube for his family to enjoy. It languished in obscurity for quite a while online, before two internet phenomena – the Long Tail, and Viral Phenomenon – caused the video to explode in popularity (the video has 89,000 views as of this writing).

The video has been posted to numerous hockey-related websites, including the Ottawa Minor Hockey official website and 50+ minor hockey associations across Canada and the US. Additionally, Donnelly was interviewed on January 5 for NorthernLife.ca, a web news site for the city of Sudbury, Ontario.

Donnelly’s dad says that the video has had a positive effect on his son’s team – when a parent mis-behaves, another parent says “Magic Helmet!” as a reminder to be good. Reportedly, teams across the continent are screening the video and even the Ottawa 67s hockey club will be showing it on their jumbotron during a game.

Unlike the many youngsters who Donnelly describes in his speech as quitting the game of hockey over the effects of the magic hockey helmet, he is still playing, on a peewee AA team in the Copper Cliff Minor Hockey Association in Sudbury.

For showing how the internet can be used to make the world better for so many people, from one single act of uploading a video, Miller Donnelly, his family and his video are this month’s Heal the World selection.

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