A Special Player

Two minutes were left on the clock of the last boys’ home basketball game of the season. The score was a bit lopsided with the home team ahead, when there was some sudden activity at the scorer’s table.  Straining to see what the hubbub was about, I noticed Caleb, the team manager, in a uniform for the first time all season.  My goodness, he was checking into the game!  He looked rather pensive and unsure of himself.  A demure 5 feet tall when compared to his 6 feet tall and even taller teammates, Caleb walked onto the court.

At this point, the crowd started chanting Caleb!  Caleb!  Caleb!  Caleb never once smiled. He was concentrating on what to do and where to go. His teammates were giving him pats on the back and words of encouragement.  “You’ve got this, Caleb!”  He inbounded the ball and awkwardly ran to the basket.  His teammate waited until Caleb was in position and passed him the ball.  With renewed confidence, Caleb tossed the ball up to the backboard and completed a lay up.  As the ball went through the hoop, the crowd went into a wild frenzy!  Every person in the gymnasium stood and cheered for this heroic player.

People who did not even know Caleb cheered for him.  They understood that this was his big moment.  This was one time when his special needs would not prevent him from accomplishing his dream of playing high school basketball.  As I watched the players carry Caleb off the court on their high shoulders through my tears, I glimpsed a broad smile appear on his face.

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