Sunday when I was getting ready for church my husband came to show me a video clip. Knowing how I don’t do interruptions when I’m getting ready he assured me it would only take a minute. It was a video of a high school basketball game where the coach had let the team manager, an 18 year old with Down Syndrome, play in the last minute and a half of the team’s Senior Night. Kevin Grow proceeded to points and twelve of those points came from behind the three point line. Yes, the video clip was only a minute long, but I cried for much longer than that.
I cried because my uncle had Down Syndrome and I regret not spending more time with him. I cried because Kevin reminded me of my awesome nephew and his Special Olympic buddies. I cried mostly however because of Kevin’s teammates. Kevin loved making those baskets but it looked like his teammates loved it even more. Whether they were on the court or on the bench they were jumping up and down, cheering, fist pumping and yelling for Kevin like maniacs. And I was reminded once again how much those who are special teach us about ourselves and the real meaning of love, life and sports.
On my way to work that morning God laid it upon my heart that I have the opportunity every day to be like Kevin’s teammates. It is not just people with special needs who want the opportunity to shine. I am surrounded everyday by people who maybe aren’t the most popular. By people who perhaps don’t make a lot of money or drive fancy cars or look like super models. I am surrounded every day by people like Kevin; special needs or not all of us want to have our ninety seconds. Everyone wants to feel part of something special. Everyone wants to be celebrated and given a chance and everyday I have the opportunity; we all do in fact, to encourage others, smile at them and make them feel like they just made a basket (or three of them) from the three point line.
“Dear Lord, thank you for the wonderful people you have put in my family and in my life. Thank you that you see us like I see Kevin and his teammates; that you see only our hearts and the motivation behind what we do. Help me to treat everyone the way you see them, that they are special and that they are loved. Help me to remember that everyday I have a choice. I can be so engrossed in my own life that I can never even bother to make eye contact with people or I can make people feel like Kevin just by paying attention for an opportunity to show them your love. God bless Kevin and his teammates and coaches, Lord. Thank you for what they taught us in fourteen points and ninety seconds. Amen.”