Jewish World Review
March 29, 2006
/ 29 Adar, 5766
You don't have to have a title to be a leader
From out of nowhere, Jason McElwain, a 17 year old, 5'6", High School Senior, appeared on the national scene as a sports icon, acclaimed by such in a meeting with the president of the United States, George W. Bush.
Okay, Weinbaum, So what's the big deal?
I'll tell you! Jason, who never put on official basketball attire until that night, was not a free agent, not a transfer, not even on the team, jumped and pumped into hoops fame.
You see Jason isn't actually ON the team. He's the manager! He gathers balls for practice then retrieves them. He gathers dirty towels and places clean ones for the players. He brings liquids to sweaty players in timeouts.
However, Jason was a step above an average gofer…he inspired his team with pep talks. He passed balls to shooters and rebounded; only to dispatch the orbs back again to the real players.
Coach Jim Johnson decided to reward Jason by letting him dress and sit on the bench with the team for the final game. If the score was close, Jason and the world would have been deprived of one of the greatest 4 minutes in sport.
With a large lead, Coach sent his manager onto the boards, fully dressed for battle. He sure did LOOK like a player with his white headband, and nifty uniform.
Then we all found out he WAS a player!
DO THEY STILL PLAY PRO HOCKEY?
His first two shots missed and then in the best of all sports stories, G-d spread a little of his magic and let Jason show what he could do…when given the chance.
To the shock of everyone, except Jason, he started hitting 3 pointers…first one…then two…then 3. The crowd went crazy, louder and nuttier with every shot, an amazed smile plastered on almost every face. The ONLY person that seemed unaffected by the hubris seemed to be Jason.
He just kept pumping those three pointers in, then 4…then 5. Somewhere in there he managed a 2 pointer.
On his 6th three-pointer at the buzzer the crowd erupted onto the floor. The team manager was carried off, arms raised in the triumph held up high by the players he helped with everything but his basketball skills.
In four minutes, in his first, and maybe his last court performance, Jason scored 20 points, high scorer for the entire game.
Now…for the rest of the story. (Forgive me Paul Harvey).
You see Jason has Asperger Syndrome Autism, not the most severe of the disease, but a challenge for Jason and all around him.
Studies are being done on the epidemic of autism in the USA. David Kirby's "Evidence of Harm" poses the theory that vaccine preservative Thimerosal, consisting of 50% mercury, is the chief culprit in the increase of Autism from 1 in 5000 births in the 80's to 1 in 166 in 2003.
Don and Deidre Imus have been in front of this issue and publicized same on his radio/TV show, chiding those in power to outlaw those chemicals proven harmful to our children.
April is Autism Awareness Month. Learn more by googling!
VOLCANOES MAKE THEIR OWN OPENINGS
Jason's biggest score of the night was bringing attention to the blight of autism and what can be done to diminish it. Give him credit for a triple/double.
He's tops in my bracket.
How about yours?
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JWR contributor Dave Weinbaum, originally from Chicago, is a businessman, writer and part-time stand-up comic. He resides in a Midwest red state. Comment by clicking here.
© 2005, Dave Weinbaum