At the end of the school day, we handed out attendance and honor roll awards to recognize St. Joseph’s students for their efforts during second quarter and first semester.
I cried at least a couple of times during tonight’s Chamberlain High School boys basketball game, but they were happy and sentimental tears. This was the last home game of the season, and senior night. All of the JV and Varsity players were introduced and went into the stands to give their parents a rose. The seniors were given special honor and had their photos taken with family at center court. A good number of our students’ parents were able to attend. For the ones who could not, due to many different circumstances, our houseparents filled in and were honored. In their years here, our Lakota students develop some strong family-like relationships with our staff.
The Junior Varsity rolled to an easy victory. Eleven of the 17 players on the JV are St. Joseph’s students, although two were injured during the season and weren’t able to play. That younger group had an undefeated, 17-0 record, which bodes well for the future of Chamberlain basketball.
The varsity game wasn’t close either, with the Cubs 30 points ahead in the fourth quarter. Everyone on the bench saw a good deal of action, including a couple of promising eighth graders.
Brady, who has served as student manager throughout high school, is also a senior. He loves basketball, but has cerebral palsy, so he’s fulfilled his dream to be part of the team in a support role.
The coaches asked him to dress tonight.
With about two minutes to go, the student body began chanting his name, and gave him a standing ovation when walked haltingly onto the court and entered the game.
Instead of having him try to run the floor, the coach stationed him along the baseline. A teammate drove the lane to draw defenders, then kicked the ball back out to Brady. He let fly a 15 footer, which rattled around the rim and dropped in. The stands erupted in more cheers.
What a beautiful moment for everyone in the community!
People with physical limitations so often inspire us by the strength of their spirit, and challenge us to always look beyond appearance, and see the goodness, heart and potential within.
Our one senior, Elijah, had a couple of stretches of playing time during the game, but hadn’t scored, so coach put him back in, hoping he would get a bucket. Three times, players who had a clear shot of their own unselfishly passed it to Eli. Each time the ball was in his hands the fans yelled “SHOOT” but he kept passing it to others.
I laughed at the game of hot potato. Finally as the clock was winding down he got the hint and drove for the basket. He was fouled before he could get the shot off, but it was a non-shooting foul, and time expired before he got another chance. I appreciated the way teammates worked together throughout the night and all year.