Brett’s Greatest Night Ever

I try not label myself the mom of a special needs kid very often.  While I am fully aware of it, I try not to let that decide what we can and can’t do all the time.  Often, though it limits what we do.  There are a few moments in Brett’s life that I remember realizing that his life would be different.  One was about 13 years ago.  He was almost 2 and we were playing in a gym.  There was another family there who we didn’t know and their kids were playing with a ball.  They weren’t much older than Brett.  Brett has always loved balls.  As I was helping Brett, with a burp cloth under his arm pits, so that I could hold him up as he tried to “walk” around and play with the balls and kids.  I started to cry because it hit me that he would not be like the other kids.

Last night I had that realization shattered and I cried tears of joy on the way home.  All I can say is Thank You Brett for never giving up and THANK YOU ISSAQUAH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS and staff.

A week ago Brett had a note come home from school saying that during Homecoming week they were going to have a basketball game for the kids in the Special Needs Class (LRCII) where they got to play with the varsity kids.  Brett was all in.  This past spring/summer Brett and Hansen, his caregiver, would take the basketball and head to the neighbor’s basketball hoops to play pick up games.  We talked and counted down the days until the game.  I had asked his teacher how it worked and she didn’t know.  They have Special Olympics Basketball over the winter so Brett had been practicing with his PT bounce passes, so he knew he was ready!

Last night when we arrived at the school, Brett just about ran to the gym at school when he got out of the car.  There was nothing stopping him from getting to the game.  We arrived at 6:00 and the gym was mostly empty.  There were a few kids there and a couple of girl basketball players.  They had uniforms for Brett to put on.  He didn’t want it over his shirt – he just wanted the uniform on.  It was huge and he didn’t care.  He has the skinniest arms, but they have the best muscles ever, though.

As I sat in the bleachers I noticed they had made signs for all the kids who were playing.  5 boys were playing basketball and the two cheerleader’s.  As the pep band started to file in I had the feeling this could be a great night.  Then in walked the cheerleaders.  How cool to see the two girls in Brett’s class dressed in uniforms and surrounded on each side by other cheerleaders.  They were in heaven!

The girl and guy basketball players started to warm up with Brett and his classmates.  Each team had a couple of girls/guys basketball players from the varsity teams.

Brett’s team had 3 kids from his class and the other team had 2.  I watched as more and more kids arrived as it got closer the 6:30 start time.  Parents and teachers came in.  The ref’s arrived and the excitement grew.  Each of the teams had a “Coach” and they had water bottles for each of the players.  At 6:30, the turned off the music and the announcer introduced the teams.  As they announced the kids names – the kids raised their hands, strutted their stuff and came to front and center to the cheers of the fans.

That would have been enough to make Brett’s night.  The night only got better from there.

They had a jump ball and the fun began.  The varsity kids gave the ball to the kids.  The kids ran it down and shot.  They did everything possible to help the kids.  As each of the 5 kids from Brett’s class had the ball the whole audience would chant their names.  If the ball didn’t go in – the rebound was usually given right back to the kids.  The lanes were wide open.  I learned a few things about Brett – he is a point guard.

When their team got to throw in the ball from under the basket or if they had gotten the rebound, there was Brett telling them to give him the ball.  He made sure they knew that he wanted it.

Thankfully the other two kids on his team were okay with that.  Brett learned as the night went on that maybe he could actually pass it to his friends.  The ref’s could call fouls on the other team when Brett needed a chance to make a shot.

Then they would “find” every reason why Brett should get an additional shot so that he could get another try to make a basket.

They had cheerleaders performed at half time.

The student section would do their chants  and the band would play during quarter breaks.

Brett played for 20 of the 24 minutes of the game.  He ran up and down the court to the roar of the crowd.

He made a basket.

He threw the ball into the game.

He congratulated his team mates when then made a basket.

He was living the dream.

When the game ended, my heart was touched by what I saw happen next.  The kids in the stands flooded the gym floor to congratulate the kids.  Then they made a bridge line for the kids to run through.  It went from one side of the gym to the other and then turned and went half the length of the gym.  They did that for the 5 kids.  If you look close you can see his green shorts and camo among all the legs and arms.

Brett was in heaven.  Brett hung out with his friends and talked to people for the next 10 minutes.

I stood in the stands grateful beyond belief that a school would care enough about 5 basketball players and 2 cheerleaders to give them the night of their life.  Brett was walking on cloud nine.  A couple of times during the game I reflected on what a miracle it was that Brett’s could physically play 20 minutes of a basketball game.  It was only 2 years ago this weekend that we knew that he was going to have hip reconstruction surgery.  How those long months of recover were worth it for this.

As we left the school, kids all along the way to the car kept calling out to Brett telling him good game.  He just smiled and smiled.  In the car, he couldn’t stop telling me all about the game and how he was going to get to play more basketball when bowling is over.  I started to cry out of joy for the kindness and love this school has shown to Brett in the short one month he has been there.  That night was the greatest night of Brett’s life, which made it one of the never forget moments of mine.  How different and how amazing from the night in a gym 13 years ago when I was sad for Brett and for all that he was going to miss in life.  Not this kid – IHS students and staff made sure that for him and his friends, they were among the greatest Basketball players.  Thanks for giving Brett something that I could never give him – a chance to be a SUPERHERO for a night.   You are all SUPERHERO’S in my mind.

And like all superhero’s and athlete’s, when he got home his knees hurt, he had a blister on his foot and he was exhausted.  Welcome to being a superhero Brett!

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37 Responses to Brett’s Greatest Night Ever

  1. This is wonderful. Such a lovely time you have had. Nice.

  2. This brought tears of joy to my eyes! Thanks for sharing this special moment! Go Brett! And Go Brett’s entire family and school for continually encouraging him cheering him on!

  3. tamieard says:

    That was awesome!

    Tamie

     

    ________________________________

  4. Kari says:

    So wish we could have been there to cheer on our favorite basketball player! WHat an amazing school and students to make a dream come true for those 7 kids! I think my “allergies” must be hitting me pretty bad because the words got a little blurry. Way to go Brett and way to go Kris, Owen, Brock, Lindsay and Becky for being Brett’s biggest cheerleaders!

  5. krapier says:

    Love that IHS does this! What a great night! Wish we could have been there!

  6. kelly morgan says:

    Ohhhh my goodness! Hooray Brett! I am so happy for you….please save a seat for Tate at IHS….Those kids are so lucky, IHS just gave their student body an amazing gift…we all know your greatness but now your whole high school does too….They just got a new BFF….one they’ll keep in their hearts forever….that’s you
    Brett…Congratulations…and thank you IHS…kelly

  7. Marsha says:

    Oh my goodness, my tears are all over the place! Thank you Kris for sharing this with us! I love you and all that you have offered to him! I also am grateful that you enjoy taking photographs now. Thanks so much sharing. Please give Brett a huge hug for us and tell him we love him! Marsha & David

  8. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for sharing this true beautiful story!

  9. Glenna says:

    What a wonderful story. being the parent of a special needs child, rather adult, I can relate. Your story brought tears to my eyes. It made me feel so good, unlike a tirade I found on Face Book a few days ago. This has renewed my faith in humanity. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. And Congratulations Brett for a great ame!

  10. karenscott24 says:

    Awesome! I’m so happy for all of you.

  11. Jill says:

    Kris – thanks for sharing and giving me a reason to explain the difference between happy tears and sad tears to Caleb. We surely do love Brett and would have loved to have been there to cheer him on (in fact the kids were doing it while we were looking at the pictures…..Brett’s got the ball, go Brett, he’s shooting, is he going to make a basket, YES!!! Way to go Brett!). Maybe you could have heard them all the way from GA to WA. What an awesome thing for the school to do. Love you all.

  12. Ann Smith says:

    Kris, This story brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing story! Wish we could have been there to cheer Brett on. The smile on his face melts my heart. Thanks for sharing! We miss you and your wonderful family.

  13. Torey says:

    Such a great story. Thanks Kris. IHS was incredible school to work in. I sure miss Brett and am so proud of him. I’ll admit I was crying in my office tonight while I read that. Wish I’d have been there in person. I miss a lot of his classmates too, so was great to see their pictures as well.

  14. Tami says:

    What a great event! Go Brett! He is truly an amazing young man and I am so glad you are blessed with an incredible school that sees the “heroes” in all of Heavenly Father’s children. I gotta go find a kleenex to dry my eyes!

  15. Valine says:

    Love, love, love it!!!!!

  16. Jeri says:

    What a fantastic story, so happy for all of you. Thanks for sharing that.

  17. Shelley says:

    This is a wonderful story! Inclusion at it’s very best. Best wishes to Brett and his family on his upcoming surgery. Most of all, congratulations to his educators for making this experience such a positive one for everyone!

  18. Darcell says:

    Wow! What a story, Brett has always gave 110%, I wish I could of been there to cheat him on. Tell him great job.

  19. Jen Olson says:

    I LOVED this!!!! Thanks for sharing, go BRETT!!!

  20. jessica says:

    Wonderful story!

  21. Darren says:

    This is an awesome story. Thanks for sharing Kris!

  22. Alesha Khun says:

    I absolutely love this story, what an incredible event for Brett and all the kids. I’m crying as I’m typing cause I am so happy for Brett and all he has achieved, he is truly amazing and gives me alot to think about, what a shining example he is to all of us. Good for you Brett, you are a ROCKSTAR!!!!!!!

  23. Nancy Shepherd says:

    Wow that is fantastic!!! What a wonderful opportunity…. Keep up the good work Brett!

  24. Susie says:

    I am crying as I read this. As a parent of a boy who played varsity basketball in high school, I was able to watch my son and cheer for him all 4 years of high school. It makes me ashamed how I would complain or feel bad when he didn’t get the playing time I thought he deserved. Everyone should read your story and gain a new perspective. You are an amazing mother and I am so happy Brett had the opportunity to feel like a super hero. Good for Isssaquah high school! This is a special story. Thanks for sharing.

  25. letajohn says:

    This is absolutely amazing!

  26. Sandy says:

    Many thanks to the staff and students of IHS for making this night possible….. truly an act of loving kindness.

  27. Roy Cress says:

    So great to hear of Brett’s night at IHS and the caring community he is in at the High School I also attended many years ago. I was fortunate to know Brett at Pine Lake and be one of the lives that he touched there. Watching him in Mr. Gray’s PE class give 100% every day and with enthusiasm was a great example for all of our students. I loved reading the story and seeing the pictures with so many of my former students. I’m proud of all of them and Brett.
    Mr. Cress, PLMS Teacer

  28. Audrey Slade says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing this and thank you to IHS for doing it. Inspiring.

  29. Shirley J. Peacock says:

    Kris, There are a couple of organizations that My husband & I are associated with that you might like to check out. One is Bridge Ministries & it is right here in the Seattle/Eastside area. Bridge Ministries is having a get together on Oct. 28th, if you’re interested. The second one is Joni & Friends. They have family retreats every year that are a great time for families to get away & “be normal”. For some of these families, this is the only time that their special needs children are treated just any other child. Both of these ministries are great to be a part of & we volunteer at both of them. If you are interested, call me or my husband at 425-222-7375. We would be glad to answer any questions that you might have.
    Shirley Peacock

    • Kris says:

      Shirley,

      Thanks for the resourse information. I have heard of Bridge Ministries, but thanks for the Joni and Friends. Brett has participated in lots of activities for kids with special needs. I am truly amazed at all that is offered in this area. One thing that was so different for us this night was that he was able to participate with kids from his school as one of the guys – not just with kids with special needs.

  30. Kim Hall says:

    What a terrific example of understanding and acceptance. Congratulations to ALL who were involved! Your unselfish actions made me so proud of the staff and students of Issaquah High School.

  31. Karyn says:

    Kris. Thanks for writing that story. It is so Brett. I am so happy he is at IHS.

  32. Tina says:

    What an amazing story and a slice of heaven on earth!! This gives us hope for our son who is in LRCII at Cougar Ridge Elementary. Some day, we too hold this dream for our son – he just LOVES baseball. Thanks for your story and for sharing such a wonderfully beautiful moment in time. IVHS Students – YOU ROCKED IT FOR SURE!!

  33. Leon Willey says:

    Hi Kris, Mutual friends posted this on facebook. I cried while reading it. What a wonderful story. I want to go back to high school, but at Issaquah next time. -Leon

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