Mitchell Marcus, a special needs student at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas and team manager for his high school basketball team, was given his chance to play the game he so avidly enjoys. On February 12th, Marcus donned his jersey. As the game neared its end and 90 seconds remained on the scoreboard, Coach Pete Morales put the young man in the game, fully anticipating the possibility that he could lose the contest.
“Mitchell’s a great shot,” his mother Amy told KFOX. “He took his first shot and missed. It hit the rim. You just hear the whole crowd sighing. It went out of bounds and Franklin got it. We all knew that he wasn’t going to have his chance.”
Jonathon Montanez, a senior at Franklin High School and a member of the opposing team, down by 10 points, tossed Marcus the ball. “Since we were down and there was only 13 seconds left, might as well give Mitchell his last shot,” Montanez told KFOX. Marcus got the ball, squared his shoulders to the rim and finally scored. And the crowd went bananas. A video stream of the game was uploaded to YouTube and the rest is history.
Coach Morales told ESPN radio, “He’s dedicated. We’ve had kids that come to this program and play with us and this kid has been more loyal than some of those kids to us because he wants to be here.”
This isn’t the first act of such sportsmanship we’ve seen recently. Earlier this month, high school basketball player, Xavier Godette, rebounded the ball and promptly passed it back to opponent Colby Newcombe for his first career bucket. Colby suffers from cerebral palsy and typically serves as the team’s manager with occasional limited playing time. And just last year, high school wrestler Clancy Ludvingson offered to be a sacrificial lamb to give special needs senior wrestler Troy Spurlock his first physical win, which he did with a pin. It seems that we are hearing more and more of these stories in the past few years. With hopes, our society is becoming more tolerable of and kind to others as seen in the sportsmanship of these young athletes. Shawn Hartnan, CBS News Correspondent said, “It’s America at its best…when I grew up, kids like Mitchell got picked on, and to see how far we have come along is touching. I get emotional thinking about it.”
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