June 12, 2005

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: On his last game, Ryan Belflower, an 18-year-old developmentally disabled student who eats, sleeps, and breathes school basketball, gets his shot. "Suddenly, he had it unguarded out beyond the 3-point line. As he launched the shot, everyone in the gym froze. On the sideline, his teammates rose as one."

posted by rcade to basketball at 08:31 AM - 17 comments

Awwww rcade, you old softy. Nice story. Thanks for sharing it.

posted by squealy at 09:07 AM on June 12, 2005

I read this story last night and it brought a tear to me eye. Great story about a great kid and a community showing how good we can all be.

posted by stofer71 at 09:43 AM on June 12, 2005

As I person he has worked 20 some years with the Developmeantly Disabled, this is a very heart warming story. You talk about a minority who has gotten the "shaft" over the years, folks like Ryan are certainly it. Its nice to see a story like this cause most people in this country really could care less about developmental disabled. Most take an "out of sight " "out of mind' philosophy.

posted by daddisamm at 01:58 PM on June 12, 2005

Very nice story, rcade. Thanks for posting it. It's interesting how Ryan's quotes in the article are all athlete cliches. My guess is that sports gave him a language to speak, a way to communicate with others, and that's so valuable for the developmentally disabled. Many go their whole lives without finding a meaningful way to connect with others. I hope that, with high school behind him, he'll be able to continue that.

posted by rocketman at 05:34 PM on June 12, 2005

I hope that, with high school behind him, he'll be able to continue that. Special Olympics has sports programs for developmentally disabled adults well beyond high school. He probably won't have a chance to play on a mainstream team, but then, almost nobody does after high school.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:02 PM on June 12, 2005

but then, almost nobody does after high school. ...which really sucks. I wish more sports had "masters" equivalent leagues, so us old farts could continue to compete. This is a great story, and I hope Ryno does as well in whatever he attempts next.

posted by dusted at 09:11 PM on June 12, 2005

I've read this story a half-dozen times today, and I still tear up every time I read it. Then the cynic in me wakes up, and I start imagining the next "Rudy" screenplay is being shopped around Hollywood as we speak.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:23 PM on June 12, 2005

The Odds for Ryan are much better for him than they were, say 20 years ago, He will need lots of assistance in what ever he does. Support for Devolpmentally Disabled person out on their own, is a chief concern for people like Ryan. It sounds like he has a great support system with his family and friends which will be good. It often takes alot more help from other places like the government and over worked non profit angencies. You'd be surprized of all the manpowere one person can take. Of course, a lot of it depends upon the person's abilities. It will take more then Special Olympics to help Ryan in the long term. Stories like this are very heartwarming, but I am very concerned for the long term status of these folks. For every Ryan you will find others who have little or no hope in anything more than institutionalized life. Sorry to ramble here, I could talk about this for days

posted by daddisamm at 10:29 PM on June 12, 2005

It is welcome insight to a part of the community that, while we might overlook, you have been involved in daddisamm. Would you consider this an argument for or against 'special' schools? I think this is an experience that could only have come from a public school in a smaller community. Also, don't underestimate the accepting power of a jock older brother. He memorizes statistics and can tell you how every member of the 49ers did last year. So can I. Nothing. Made me think of the football player with similar circumstances that was able to play late and ran for a touchdown. Does anyone recall that story? This is great. I'm sitting in an internet bar in China with tears rolling. Thanks.

posted by geekyguy at 10:48 PM on June 12, 2005

Sorry to ramble here, I could talk about this for days It's all good, d. I've spent much of my life similarly, and can say unequivocally that folks like Ryan have a lot to give to our communities, not just in terms of stories such as these, but in the small ways that they bring life to our workplaces and neighborhoods. So y'all make sure you pass those levies supporting the developmentally disabled. </shameless plug> Thanks, rcade, for the story.

posted by avogadro at 12:39 AM on June 13, 2005

Would you consider this an argument for or against 'special' schools? I think this is an experience that could only have come from a public school in a smaller community. Oh, and not to step on d's answer, but I would. Mainstreaming is certainly the direction that I'd like to see more services and schools head towards, including providing supports so that folks are able to not only receive education in regular schools (though with professionals with the proper training) but also, if they have the abilities, work out in the community with some assistance. Of course, this oftentimes requires more funds.

posted by avogadro at 12:44 AM on June 13, 2005

Mainstreaming is great, but you have got to have the funds and the community commitment. In my area I see alot of "good' things happening. A good test of "mainstreaming" is all of the developmentally disabled folks doing the same things us "normal" types do. Things like eat, sleep, go to work etc. The place I used to work for is moving folks into their own apartments, even helping them buy condos and houses. It can be done, but it takes alot of work.

posted by daddisamm at 06:23 AM on June 13, 2005

I know a special needs kid (not developmentally disabled, I believe some form of autism) who's a freshman at a mainstream high school, and a star athlete. I'll be very surprised if she's not the top female distance runner in the state in a few years. She was also the freshman class homecoming queen last fall. Her situation got me to thinking: this is great for now, but what happens after high school? Then I realized, well, life happens. She won't have the opportunity to go to college and compete there, but then, most high school athletes don't, even the very good ones. In the United States, high school is where most people have their best opportunity to participate in competitive athletics, and after high school it ends. Mainstreaming now gives her the same chance, for the same limited amount of time, as her peers.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:37 AM on June 13, 2005

Thanks for posting this rcade and thanks to dadisamm, avogadro and anyone else with the courage and heart to work in this field. I had 2 brothers (one died in the state home in Ft. Worth) who are special needs and I really appreciate the dedication people show to help those less fortunate. Best of luck to Ryno in all his dreams.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 08:46 AM on June 13, 2005

Nice job, rcade. I was crying into my toast this morning. I would've been a wreck if had been at the game.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:32 PM on June 13, 2005

Thanks rcade.That is one of the best stories I've read in a long time..I had my 13 year old son read it,to show what can be done when you try.

posted by maclmn at 01:32 PM on June 13, 2005

A great story. Too bad the article is so horribly written.

posted by holden at 02:04 PM on June 13, 2005

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