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Jan 08
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by Doug Goldberg

It’s been over four years since the world first learned about Jason McElwain.  Since his amazing night on a basketball court he has met Oprah, Magic Johnson and then President Bush.  He even won an ESPY award that year for the best moment in sports for 2006.  If you don’t remember Jason take a few minutes and watch the video below.

I still tear up every time I watch that video, but what amazed me the most was what I came across when I googled, “Jason McElwain now”.  I came across the following two articles, Teen Basketball Hero Still in the Game  and Jason McElwain.  He has been an assistant coach on his old high school’s junior varsity team for the last couple of seasons and was recently promoted to assistant on the varsity squad.  So my first thought would be, look at how scoring 20 points in a game has changed his life, but I would be wrong.  According to the article, “Teen Basketball Hero Still in the Game”:

By all accounts, Jason is much more self-confident than he was four years ago. That game really did change him. Although Jason says it wasn’t making the shots that made the difference — he says it was the support and acceptance he felt that night that made him the man he is today.

“The way my senior class, up in the stands that night, cheered for me and picked me up on their shoulders like we won a national championship…they were awesome,” Jason said.

“I’ve often said if the whole world could just be the way that gym was that night,” Hartman says.

“The world would be a better place,” Jason replies.

“It’d be a perfect place,” Hartman says. 

Jason credits his senior class and their acceptance for turning him into the man he is today.  I have often said I wished that my own son would be judged on the person he is rather than what he can’t do because of his disability.  I was happy to see Jason make the connection and wish more people would act accepting of all children with a disability.  Sometimes we spend so much energy on therapies and education we forget that the simple act of acceptance can have a life changing affect on a child.

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