Every parent secretly hopes that when their child plays a sport that they are the superstars. We signed Nathan up for basketball since he talked about how he played at recess and expressed enthusiasm towards it. This was all before we realized how bad his eyes were. The first season was hard to watch, literally. He just sort of stood in the middle of the court and did not do much. It was frustrating from a parents point of view, because we could not figure out why he would not engage and go after the ball. But he kept talking about how much he loved it, so he kept playing. At the end of the season, he had not made a basket.
We started the winter season, and immediately we could tell that something was going to be different during this season. There were two coaches and both had sons on the team. There sons were good, but were not hot shots. They shared the ball and the coaches said at the first practice, every kid will make a basket! This was a team that was built on being a good team player and helping your teammate.
It was during this time that we met with the Chief Ophthalmologist and learned that his vision was 20/200. NEVER had we heard the words legally blind. During this time we could not figure out why he wasn’t going after the ball. When his teammates would pass the ball to him it would go through his hands or why he just stood there and watched. Why he would flinch when the ball or a kid would come at him now all made perfect sense.
I started to notice that the coach on the sidelines would be telling his sons to hand the ball to Nathan. And they were such good teammates, that sometimes they would be wide open right under the basket ready to make a shot and run back to half court to hand the ball to Nathan. It just never worked. Nathan tried, but he was not able to make that shot. But they kept trying and the entire team had rallied around Nathan in a way that I had never seen 7 year olds do. At that age they want to be the star, not share the ball. Then on the second to last game, the coaches son tossed the ball to Nathan and he threw it for all it was worth and it went in!!! I, of course lost it and can be heard screaming like a little girl in the background. But the neatest part of it all, was that everyone knew. The referees knew, the coaches knew, the other parents knew and even the other teammates knew that this was a kid who is Autistic and visually impaired and they helped him get this shot. So as you can see in the video, they are just as happy as he is.
What happened next was so cool. Both of the referees gave him a high-five and knuckles and the coach called a time out just to tell him what a good job he did and then pointed to me and told him to go give him Mom a hug. When I finished hugging him, I turned to sit down and there was not a dry eye in the stands and they were all clapping, both teams. I think my husband, Jay says it best on the video, “He’s been working for that for a long time”.