Saturday, February 25, 2006
If you heard the show Friday, you heard me talking about an amazing story out of Greece, New York.
Jason McElwain had done everything he was asked to do for the Greece/Athena New York High School basketball team. He kept the stats, ran the clock, handed out water bottles.
That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The 17-year-old senior, who has autism and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead.
McElwain proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points in 4 minutes and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.
When I was a kid, we didn’t see special needs kids very often. As a result, I wasn’t sure what to do or say around them. It was sort of uncomfortable. I’m sure a lot of people around my age felt the same way back then. Now, as the father of a boy with autism, I can tell you a lot of people still feel that way. Thankfully, the times are a-changin’. Kids like these are very often mainstreamed into typical schools. Today’s typical kids first learn to understand then assist and sometimes even befriend these kids.
I probably look at the story a different way than most. Don’t get me wrong. McElwain’s accomplishment was amazing. He’s clearly on the high functioning side of autism. If you have that diagnosis, breaking through to socialize at all is a major accomplishment. Starring in a high school basketball game is a freaking miracle.
What inspires me further is the way the kids reacted. When I read the story on the air yesterday, I hadn’t seen the video. I want you to see the response of his school as he drained three pointer after three pointer. The reaction and explosion of support from McElwain’s teammates and fellow students was truly inspirational.
In the midst of all the bad news the world chucks at us, a story like this comes along to renew your faith in the future.
Watch the video here, courtesy of CNN.
An even better video recap here from ESPN, as Hollywood enters the picture, vying for rights to McElwain's amazing story.
Posted by Steve Warne at 8:14 PM