Breaking Sports

Monday, June 13, 2005

Real essence of Sports

Not much NHL news today, but perhaps every fan, athlete, coach, general manager and owner should read about Ryan Belflower.

The chant began late in the fourth quarter in the basketball gym at Clovis East High. The students started it first, clapping their hands in unison and pounding the bleachers with their feet. It didn't take long for the parents to pick it up, too. The noise grew until the whole gym seemed to shake. "We want Ryno. We want Ryno."
Pacing the sideline, coach Tim Amundsen felt himself getting goose bumps. Less than 4 minutes remained in the game, and Clovis East was winning comfortably over rival Buchanan High. Now Amundsen had a decision to make.
It was senior night, the last time Ryan Belflower would wear his home uniform. Everyone in the gym knew his story.
Ryan was a special education student who would do anything to fit in and worked tirelessly to make that happen. His basketball career began as a ninth grader passing out balls to the girls' team. Then he hooked on with the boys' team, getting there every morning at 6:30, helping out in drills, running the practice clock and cleaning up afterward.
Now, he sat proudly on the sideline in his own white No. 12 uniform.
The crowd wanted him in the game. Amundsen wanted him in, too. But he was also afraid the slightly built 18-year-old might get hurt.
Amundsen considered all this as he walked toward Ryan and patted him on the shoulder. Off came the warmup jacket, the buzzer blew and Ryan kind of half hopped, half ran onto the court, his left leg trailing slightly at an odd angle.
The noise was deafening as he ran out on the court.
read on and thanks to a reader of Breaking Sports for passing this article on to me.