Patrick Thibodeau – When Sports Gets it Right
Introducing Patrick Thibodeau, who, as pointed out by Bootlegger Sports (via Deadspin), represents what’s right about sports. Not agents or talk of steroids or contract disputes. No, Patrick’s story demonstrates the beauty sports can produce. You see, Patrick was born with Down’s syndrome and has been the manager for his basketball team — the Greely High Rangers — since his freshman year.
Fast forward to Patrick’s senior year and Greely’s last basketball game of the season and you have the makings of something beautiful: Greely coach Ken Marks allowing Patrick to take the floor with the team he’d managed and practiced with for four years. Marks even allowed his team manager to be a starter, in order for Patrick to be introduced to the crowd and congratulated for his perseverance. But the fun didn’t end there. During his initial appearance, Patrick hit a 3-pointer, much to the crowd’s delight.
Although he was taken out shortly after hitting his first 3, Patrick was put back in as the game was winding down. Showing a “never shy about letting it fly” mentality, Patrick hit another bomb as the crowd, and his teammates, exploded in cheers and celebration.
Thibodeau hit a pair of 3-point shots, one early in the game and the other late. The night was additionally special for Patrick as his father, Perry, the longtime team statistician, attended after suffering a stroke two weeks ago.
“It was an awesome moment,” said Greely Coach Ken Marks.
“We had talked about doing this. What better way to get Patrick on the floor than on Parents’ Night. We really appreciate the Gray players and coaches accepting it. I told their coach, Scott Flagg, to play the game the way he wanted to.”
As I was saying, there are times when sports just gets it right. In the case of Patrick Thibodeau, it’s safe to say this is one of those times.