An act of kindness, even in the midst of a competitive basketball game, can go a long way. Just ask Kyle Kwarcinski, a high school senior from Nebraska who has Down syndrome.
Kwarcinski is the varsity team manager at his school, and because he’s a fantastic long-range shooter, he occasionally suits up for the junior varsity squad.
Just before Christmas, the J.V. coach called Kwarcinski’s name from the bench because he needed a fourth-quarter ace against Elmwood-Murdock High School.
With 12 seconds left, Kwarcinski got the ball and attempted a 3-pointer, which he missed. However, knowing how much another shot would mean to him, Tommy Eggert from Elmwood-Murdock rebounded the ball and passed it back to Kwarcinski beyond the arch at the top of the key. With great form, Kwarcinski fired up another 3-pointer and drilled it just as the buzzer sounded.
Of course, the crowd went wild and everyone celebrated his shot.
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So what makes Kwarcinski such a great shooter?
“He’s always been a little shorter than the other kids, so he had to learn to shoot over them and being further out makes it easier for him,” his mother, Lisa Kwarcinski, told WOWT.
As for why Eggert made the fast-acting decision to pass the ball back to Kwarcinski, he said it would simply be nice to give him another chance to get on the score sheet.
“We always teach the kids to do the right thing. Tommy did the right thing and that kid will remember that for the rest of his life and I’m glad to be a part of it,” said Brad Zierott, an Elmwood-Murdock assistant coach.
The high school kids who are scoring 30 points per game? They’re not going to remember most of those buckets years down the road. But for someone like Kwarcinski, a single shot will not only be remembered but celebrated for the rest of his life. And Tommy Eggert, his opponent, can be credited with the assist.
What better proof that sports impart some of the best life lessons?