Brett started playing on the Issaquah Special Olympics Basketball team in December. He has loved going to practice. He doesn’t want me to walk him into the Issq Community Center (where the practices are held), so I watch from the car to make sure he gets in safe. He has a great coach who is doing all he can to help these kids. The kids are 9th graders through those who are in the transition program in the district (age 21).
They had their first game in the middle of January. It was so much fun to go to. It had a lot of the same feel as the basketball game from the fall.
Posters on the walls for the kids..
Pep Band there to play..
Cheerleaders and kids gathered..
The Issaquah’s team were looking great in their uniforms…
I felt bad for the visiting team.
It was 5 kids and their coach. I wanted to go and give them uniforms and let their team borrow players from our team. But as I learned as the game when on. These kids don’t care who is winning. They don’t care if they have on uniforms or not. They are there to play ball and have fun.
The game started and it was so different from the Sept game. These kids didn’t let the other kids dribble down the court. They were there to play ball. They were ref’s, but they didn’t call traveling or fouls. The kids just played as best they could. Watching Brett we discovered something about him that I hadn’t seen before. He knew what was supposed to be happening in the game, but couldn’t “play” like he wanted. He can’t run as fast or keep a ball away from someone else trying to grab it from him let alone shoot for a shot when the other players are defending the basket. So what does he do – he directs what he wants everyone else to do.
When he is playing he is pointing and telling them what to do. For a mostly non-verbal kid, he sure commands their respect. One time during a time out, Brett was put into the game so he started telling his friends to come in and play too. They listened and got up and started to go into the game, only to be stopped by their coach.
The other team was much better than our team, but no one cared. We all smiled and laughed as we watched kids who just wanted to learn to play basketball play to their heart’s content.
At the end of the night the students made a tunnel and the kids ran through.
The kids from the other team even ran through and I’m pretty sure thought everyone was cheering for them, because we were. It didn’t matter who made a shot, cheers happened and ref’s gave high fives. How I loved to watch the game.
Brett had his second game a couple of weeks later. This team was far superior to us in every way. The game quickly got to 40-2 (we were not winning). What happened next is why I LOVE Special Olympics basketball. The other team’s coach told them they had to pass it 5 times prior to shooting. The kids that could talk would call out 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – SHOOT. There was one player on their team, number 33 who is my hero.
He understood enough that they were winning by a lot that he would keep his teammates from blocking our shots. He would dribble the ball and “oops” pass it right to our team. He did this over and over again.
There is so much love on these teams it is wonderful.
Brett is learning that he can throw the ball in ..
and sometimes take a pass.
But he knows really quick to pass it off, because someone will be coming for it soon.
Brett’s team at one point had 1 kids on the court who knew what was going on and 4 others who would stand around together.
Best part was no one cared.
Last Saturday we went to a Jamboree where there were lots (heard at one point 56 teams – I never saw that many teams). Brett’s hips and back have been hurting and he knew we were only going to watch his team play. We got there and it was all he could do not to play. He told me many time that his hips were fine and let him play. Love that boy’s desire and determination. I was the mom who what watched the week before see him hobble down the court and didn’t want to see that again. I love that he gets a chance to be on a team. I love watching him being in heaven out on the court or on the sidelines.
Hoping that he is doing great for his next game at the end of February.
This is why it is all worth it…