I’ve loved seeing so many stories of kindness happening in our public school system. We hear so much of the negative that I believe we are desensitizing our youth; making them feel like these things are the “norm” among their peers. After a while they decide the corrupt acts of others are normal occurrences possibly seeping slowly in and changing their world view of morality and decency. News stories are overflowing with topics such as bullying and teens trying to make the lives of teachers and others miserable. I think it’s time we start relaying more of the good that is happening and just see what it might do to our society and our kids.
Anyway, I’ll jump off my soap box here and tell you a story of a young man from Dexter, Michigan.
Greg Zenas was a high school senior in 2012; with Down syndrome. Greg was also the team manager for his high school soccer team for the past six years. He did everything from getting water bottles and equipment to standing at the side lines and cheering for his team.
The team’s coach Scott Forrester had encouraged Greg to become the team manager when he was in seventh grade. A couple years ago he even went as far as getting Greg a uniform and having him dress for each game.
The team had won many trophies over the years. The players themselves voted and decided that Greg would be the keeper of the trophies so when they were awarded a trophy it went right into Greg’s hand for safe keeping.
Over the years the players even extended their helping hands to Greg. Each season Greg’s mom got a call from one of the players informing her that he would be Greg’s driver for the season. If Greg’s parents weren’t able to drive him this player made sure that he made it to all the games and any banquet or other event the team had to attend.
At the game on October 4, 2012; Greg’s senior year, Coach Forrester made a decision. After the team was introduced the coach went over to Greg and handed him a paper bag with soccer cleats and shin guards; Greg was in the game. As he first hit the field he needed a bit of instruction from his teammates as to where he was to stand and what way they were to run. After a few plays Greg began to catch on. He even had his chance with the ball a few times.
Coach Scott Forrester had decided to make this game in October of last year, one that the seniors would remember for the rest of their lives. Not just for Greg, but knowing the impact it would have on the team as a whole and how much this could affect each member of his team personally.
A night Greg and his parents aren’t soon to forget. But also a night for Scott Forrester and the rest of the players to put into action what being part of a team family is all about; overlooking disability, flaws or differences in personalities for the good of the whole.
Oh, and by the way, they won the game that night!
This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October. Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.