By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
The stat line read: MIN PLAYED: 2 3FGA: 4 3FGM: 2 PF: 0 TP: 6. Not bad for a basketball player but hardly Lebron-esque.
But for former equipment manager turned basketball player Owen Groesser it was indeed remarkable. Owen plays for Coach Jeff Howell’s Van Hoosen Middle School seventh-grade team in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In the final home game of the season, Howell asked Owen to put down his stat sheet and suit up for the game that would decide the city championship. Owen was ecstatic especially since he’d been practicing at home with his dad all year just to enjoy shooting around with the guys during the practice sessions. Now he had a chance to play in a real game before his friends and teachers.
With about two minutes to go in the first half, Howell called Owen’s name and put him in at the 2-guard position. The crowd was chanting his name as Owen came off a pick and swished a three-pointer from what we old timers call “way downtown,” or just beyond the three point arc. Continually fed the basketball by his teammates, Owen missed a couple of shots but on his last trip down the floor set up and hit another “3-Ball” as time was running out. The crowd first erupted and then later rushed the floor to congratulate their classmate.
Pretty mundane stuff to justify a blog article? Maybe, but what makes Owen truly remarkable is that Owen is more than a manager who got a chance, he’s a kid with Down’s Syndrome who got a chance. Proof again that humans can do some remarkable stuff when given the opportunity, and that people know a hero when they see one. Owen’s shot made it to ESPN’s SportsCenter and garnered thousands of tweets. Owen, however was unruffled. When congratulated by his beaming dad for the good shooting in a championship game he got the reply familiar to any of us who have raised kids. “I know that, Dad,” Owen said.
But to we star-struck adults it was quite a bit more. “It was like a movie,” the elder Groesser said. “Like the junior-high Rudy.” Coach Howell told his team earlier in the week of his plans to get Owen involved. After the game he told them, “What you witnessed tonight will stick with you for the rest of your lives.”
And boy was he right, and not just for those who witnessed it live.
In case you were wondering, Van Hoosen won the game, 35-26 which, of course, makes Owen a champion but we already knew that didn’t we?
Source: Detroit Free Press
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Here’s the video: