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St. Paul rec league coach surprised with Super Bowl tickets

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Leo Jackson and his son are given Super Bowl tickets.
Dana Nelson and Maureen Bausch, left, with the Super Bowl Host Committee, join St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter in presenting Super Bowl tickets to volunteer football coach Leo Jackson and his son Leo Jr. at the Jimmy Lee Recreation Center in St. Paul.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

The local host committee for this weekend's Super Bowl and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter surprised a recreation league football coach on Sunday with two tickets to the big game.

Leo Jackson has been a coach for the football program at St. Paul's Jimmy Lee Recreation Center for the last seven seasons. He grew up in the neighborhood and playing at Jimmy Lee, and is known for inspiring neighborhood kids on and off the field. 

"I'm crying with joy right now," Jackson said. "It's like, I just had a conversation about having an opportunity to go to a Super Bowl, and who would I bring and I was talking about my son. Everybody in here  who knows my son knows that he loves the game more than I do. So, I'm just happy for him, because we're about to have a huge memory that, you know, we probably would never have the opportunity."

Jackson was joined by his 7-year-old son, Leo, Jr., and his one-time high school classmate Twins first baseman Joe Mauer for the surprise presentation at the recreation center on Lexington Avenue.

"He puts in the hours trying to help kids on and off the field and it's nice to see him get rewarded for that," Mauer said.