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Away From Home

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Truly inspiring

This article is required reading. A clip:

It was senior night, the last time Ryan Belflower would wear his home [basketball] 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. [Coach] 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.

. . .

The final seconds were ticking off the clock and Clovis East got the ball one last time. This time, Ryan found a spot just beyond the 3-point line to the left of the key. He got a pass, and turned to shoot.

The noisy gym quieted for a split second as the ball seemed to hang in the air forever. . . .

Read the article and find out how it ends!


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