So here's my "Dream Team 2010"
At point guard I've got Zach A., whose father once played quarterback at the University of Colorado. He's completely selfless, non-demanding and has one of the purest shots inside the 10 –15 foot range you've ever seen. He also happens to be challenged with Down Syndrome. Not that it matters any – this kid can connect faster than Lady Gaga in a Yankees locker room…. and afterwards has the kind of smile that could melt even the hardest of hearts. If there's anyone that can be considered a true game-breaker.. it's Zach – just ask my daughters or any of the multitudes of women that find him irresistible. He really is that cool….
I'll take Steve H. at shooting guard who, despite having a pacemaker, constant problems with blood circulation and the fact he was a recent coma victim - which impaired his memory, learning ability and speech patterns, is the most enthusiastic player on the court. He's the kind of kid you love in the locker room and no matter what the outcome, you'd walk away feeling like you just survived a Springsteen concert, strictly based on his courage, drive and desire.
At center I'm rolling with AJ – who's probably close to 6'0, 200 lbs and proud to tell anyone that even looks in his direction, that he's from Texas, which evidentially allows him the opportunity to have multiple girlfriends cause…."that's how they roll in Texas"…. Sure, he gets distracted, sure he has his issues with ADD…. but when you're able to make him laugh – and hear the pure innocence of someone with no prejudice, expectations or demands – it brings your own value system to a whole different level. Almost suckered me into a bet on the Lakers / Celtics series… (almost)
Without a doubt – Michael V's my forward – strong, decisive and able to work his way around the court like no other. Despite his physical limitations, which include suffering from slow, white-mans disease, he can successfully navigate the Colorado Lite Rail System without a hitch, pointing out each stop, each route and the precise number of each train required to get where he needs to go - which is generally anywhere he can afford on an almost non-existent budget. His funds have been cut so dramatically he's lucky to afford a half a stick of gum at the end of the month let alone a bus or Lite Rail pass. He's the kind of kid that's got tons of potential – limited only by what's made available to him from those in charge, who are supposedly acting in his best interests. Unfortunately, from what I've seen, I'm not convinced those in charge really are acting in his best interests.
Rounding out the list I've got my buddy Beau G. at strong forward, a guy I'm guessing couldn't make it past the first step in the current NBA drug policy with everything he's required to take just to cope with Williams syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder which is enough to jack anyone's day. Outside of his athletic abilities he's a tremendous musician who prefers to play guitar using the "one-finger / one thumb method," amazingly able to recreate any song you want to hear, from Led Zeppplin to Korn to Slipnot - without the ability to read as much as a note of music. Three years of music lessons in High School and I can barely tell the difference between an E-string and a G-string. Ok, well maybe that's an exaggeration, pretty sure I've got the G-string thing down, but you know what I mean.
Fact is, I can't even imagine what these kids deal with on a daily basis. They live it one day - one moment at a time, thankful for every second they're given. They neither judge nor ridicule. They accept life, and the hand they've been dealt, for what it is – no more, no less. The words emblazoned on their Special Olympics t-shirts "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt" is more than a slogan, it's a lesson in life we could all benefit from.
While I'm busy having an anxiety attack, an extremely bad hair day or worried I may eventually have to listen to the new Ron Artest single – my guys are busy living life to the fullest. Regardless of the score or who comes in first or second, these guys are winners - Winners in Life, and isn't that what sports is really all about?
Yep, this is my "Dream Team" - and I wouldn't trade ‘em for the world.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past twelve-years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio and Internet stations around the country. You can follow all of Schon's updates on Twitter - Facebook or drop him an email at Michael John Schon
Broncos Update Community Forums