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To the Basketball Coach Who Doesn’t Make Me Feel Special

I want to recognize one of the silent heroes who make “specials” like me feel like we’re not so special. This post honors my basketball coach, Steve Frantz, at the Ambler YMCA.

You see, I’ve been in the gym shooting baskets a lot lately, and it got me thinking about how much we lower the bar these days. It’s easy to expect less of people and be happy when they exceed mediocre expectations. Whatever happened to setting the bar high and stretching ourselves to achieve at our maximum ability or beyond?

I always shoot on the regulation basket. That’s 10 feet in the air — literally 6 feet taller than me. I couldn’t make it when I first started, but after lots of tries, I make it almost all the time now. I can even hit a few from the real foul line. I’m not bragging but merely trying to make the point that no matter how high the bar — or basket — and no matter how much you think you can’t, you usually can if you try. It’s even more achievable if you have people around you to coach and teach and encourage you.

One of those people is Coach Steve, who treats me like all of the typical kids on the team. I’m actually pretty good — hundreds of hours of practice will do that — but I still have challenges and am still different. Coach Steve makes sure I’m learning just like the typical kids, but he doesn’t favor me. Mom and Dad refrain from running onto the court every five minutes to help me, and so does Coach Steve. Because of him, I’m learning lots of new things and so are my typical teammates. They’re learning tolerance and will be future heroes like Coach Steve. I’m learning that I’m not so special and that I fit in with everyone else. So thank you, Coach Steve, and all the other silent heroes who don’t lower the baskets for “specials” like me and for anyone else. You make us all better.

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