Special needs children can have a difficult time fitting in. Most people focus on what they cannot do rather than what they excel at.
Just like any other person, they have hidden talents that are often overlooked because people are shallow and judgmental.
But for one West Point-Beemer High School student, being a part of the group was no problem at all.
James Meiergard has Down syndrome but he had never let that stop him. He suited up for every junior varsity basketball game at his school. He also loved attending the varsity games with his friends.
“The kids love him, and it’s great to see how they respond to him,” said Matt Hinkel, a teacher at West Point-Beemer and assistant basketball coach.
But one Friday night, a varsity basketball game turned Meiergard from one of the crowd to a real super star.
During the halftime of a rival game against Wisner-Pilger, Meiergard’s friend Manny Barragan decided to pull him onto the court.
Meiergard had wanted to try a trick shot that he had been working on; a backwards half-court toss into the bucket.
Barragan knew Meiergerd was itching to try his shot. He wanted to give him his chance.
The first attempt didn’t make it in, but Meiergard kept trying. All eyes of the crowd were glued to him. It was about the tenth try when the miracle shot made it in.
In a video taken by a spectator, the crowd erupted in cheers. Meiergard did a fist pump as his friend came running towards him in celebration.
He then ran to the stands where he was congratulated by friends. The smile on his face, and of these around him, spoke volumes to this emotional achievement.
It was a defining moment, the fulfillment of a basketball dream, a moment where Meiergard was celebrated for his talent. He earned the MVP for his trick shot skill.
The video drew a lot of attention. The Harlem Globetrotters, known for their own trick shot prowess, saw the amazing shot and invited Meiergard to a show when they are in town.
Meiergard’s mother, Karen, couldn’t be prouder. “It just gives you goose bumps,” she said of the basketball shot that she will never forget.
Meiergard is a shining example that there are really no limits in life. Those who supported him and cheered him on are an example of what we need more of in our world.
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