Sep 29, 2010

The Ike Special

There's a saying that goes a little something like "Sports don't build character, they reveal it."  I'm not sure I totally believe that.  Sports definitely has the possibility to bring out the best in some people.  It's also been known to bring out the worst in others.  But as a general rule of thumb, I think it works.  Especially when talking about kids and organized team sports.

Case in point. Ike Ditzenberger is a 17-year old high-school junior who loves football. Playing for his high school team like his older brothers before him. And despite his physical limitations, he practices with the junior varsity and varsity squads every day and he always finds a way to score. His coach has drawn up a play that guarantees it. Every time.

Did I mention that Ike has Down Syndrome?

For the last play of each practice, Ike gets to score a touchdown with the varsity team. As long as he keeps his pads on and his mouthpiece in, his coach will call his number for his very own offensive play. The Ike Special.

And this past week, with a little help from the defense on the opposing team, Ike scored a last second touchdown on a 51-yard ramble to the end zone. The other team was up 35-0 with 10 seconds left when Ike's play and number was called, so yeah...they let the guy have his moment.  And it was Ike's very first career varsity score.  A very big moment for him.  I say hurrah for the kids and coaches of that other team.  It showed a lot of sportsmanship.

Some critics believe that there is no place in sports for this kind of thing.  That no one should ever "allow" a play like this to happen.  I disagree.  It think it was wonderful.

Watch...


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Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. C'mon...that's awesome!

16 comments:

Water Logged Canine said...

I'm sorry...but a better story would have been if the opposing team just knocked this kid's block off. That's life. You don't always score. Sometimes you get the touchdown and sometimes you get the extra chromosome. They're doing a disservice to this gentleman. Have you seen Pixar Film's Bolt? People don't just let you score. I should know...I was 15. It takes Zima and Tommy Boy...and maybe just maybe...you touch a little clam.

Mrs. Hall said...

wow. see now, that's awesome. all misty eyed in my coffee here.

thanks for this post Earl! :)

LeSombre said...

Hey! I used to be #57. ;-)

That was an awesome video.

B.E. Earl said...

Doggie - Best. Comment. Ever!

Holly - Did you hear the announcer? He said he was getting misty too.

LeSombre - Did play football on those weird Canadian-dimension fields? ;)

hello haha narf said...

my favorite part was after the touchdown when it looked like the other kids wanted ike to do the bullshit end zone dance celebration crap and he sort of started and then was all, "been here, done that, let's keep going." wish the pros would take a lesson from ike and act like they had been in the end zone before!

Slyde said...

Stories like this must give you hope that one day you'll get your chance, too!

Slyde said...

p.s. maybe you can give this kid a call and do a duet of "come monday" with him?

just a thought...

B.E. Earl said...

Becky - I've never disliked end-zone celebrations IF they are done with the entire team. A dude who does an elaborate thing by himself is just ridiculous. Dude...you had some help scoring that TD.

Slyde - I do have a way with the special folks. And by "have a way", I mean they are drawn to me like moths to a flame.

sybil law said...

EARL MADE ME CRY!

B.E. Earl said...

Sybil - Phew! Good thing I'm not really Earl. ;)

Heff said...

I saw the link for that on my yahoo homepage yesterday, but didn't click on it. I wondered what they meant by "with a little help from the defense".

I honestly WASN'T expecting it to turn out to be an act of kindness.

B.E. Earl said...

Heff - Yeah, every once in a while we surprise one another.

Bruce said...

Interestingly enough, I was thinking about this the other day. The concept of sports as an elitist activity where those that are less perfect are shunned. My conclusion was that it will never happen, because 'winning' is to much engrained in our psyche (often times much to our detriment). In this case, the teams obviously agreed to let Ike score, which is a real heart tugging and feel good moment, but alas, obviously ochestrated for Ike's benefit.

I believe that it is is more appropriate to teach that everyone, regardless of ability, can have something special to offer, instead of trying to pigeon-hole them into an activity where they are obviously less than capable.

Prejudice is a very bad thing as history has countless times shown us. Adolph Hitler was prejudice against the jews, so he chased Albert Einstein out of the country. That was not a real swift move by the axis in hindsight. Just as the people of Hiroshima.

I am glad for Ike. But I certainly hope that this dosen't give the kid delussions of being in the NFL someday.

B.E. Earl said...

Bruce - I can't say for sure, but I don't believe he would have those delusions. Having known one or two kids with DS, they are actually very aware of their capabilities and lack thereof. And just like "normal" kids, they just want to be happy. This made him feel happy and a part of the team. I like that.

Mrs. Hall said...

I agree with Earl here, having worked in several group homes for several years in my younger days, group homes for the 'developmentally disabled'. And happiness is awesome no matter where it springs from!

:)

LegalMist said...

I'm firmly in the "that was awesome" camp. Thanks for sharing the video. :)