An Unbelievable Passion for Life

                Jason McElwain, or “J-Mac”, is my hero because he showed dedication and heart when he inspired many people across America on February 15, 2006. Jason McElwain is from Greece, New York, which is in Rochester, New York. At age two, he was diagnosed with Autism. At first, he struggled with interacting with other kids and was placed in special education classes to better his social skills. As he got older he developed social skills that allowed him to do a lot of other things that other autism kids could not do. He was known as a high-functioning autistic kid.  He attended Greece Athena High School where he became the varsity boys’ basketball manager. This is where he made an incredible impact on the school, community, and the world.

            “J-Mac” was only 5’6, so the coach did not put him on the team, but let him work as the water-boy/manager. He was extremely dedicated to the team. He attended every practice and missed only one game. During practice, he would scrimmage and play with the team, but was never allowed to play in the game. This did not frustrate “J-Mac” because he had a passion for basketball and was grateful for the opportunity he had to be a manager. Even though all he ever wanted was to play in the game, he never complained. On February 15, 2006, he got his chance.

            The day before the game, the coach of the team, Coach Johnson, approached Jason and told him he could suit up for the game, but he couldn’t promise any playing time. It was the last game of the season and the team was playing for the title. They were playing Spencerport High School for Senior-Night, but “J-Mac” stole the show. Coach Johnson had already planned to let Jason play if Greece Athena had a comfortable lead near the end of the game. With four minutes left in the game, Greece Athena was up by twenty points and Coach Johnson decided to put Jason in the game. When coach pointed to Jason on the bench, the crowd went crazy because they knew he was going in the game. Jason was not afraid to shoot because as soon as he got in the game he shot a three pointer and a layup, but missed both of those shots. After these shots, Jason settled in and started to relax on the court. He then attempted his second three and made it. Following that shot, he continued shooting and made six three point shots and two lay-ups within a three minute period. Jason later explained that he was “hotter than a pistol.” The last shot of the game was a three pointer by Jason that was nothing but net, followed by the entire student section storming the court and lifting Jason onto their shoulders.

            Jason had done the unthinkable and proved to everyone that with dedication and hard work, anything is possible. He proved to all people with disabilities that you can do anything you put your mind to. “J-Mac” became a local and nationwide hero. Jason’s story became so inspiring that over twenty film-producing companies have offered to make a movie of his story, including Walt Disney, Warner Bros, and Columbia Pictures. Jason was awarded an Espy Award in 2006 for the best moment in sports that year. “J-Mac” will always be a hero and has heavily impacted the hearts of many people across the world.

  1. #1 by urmw6wd on April 26, 2011 - 11:01 pm

    Great post! His story is a great example of why people should never give up on a dream. Jason loved basketball and he never lost faith. When he had his chance to play he showed the world that he was able to do everything anybody else could do.

  2. #2 by Ellen Wright on April 27, 2011 - 6:58 am

    This story is adorable. It’s inspiring that this child with autism could defy all odds to win the game, showing that perseverance and dedication pay off. It is also and inspiring sub-story that the coach allowed him to play in such an important game. Really like this one!

  3. #3 by urjg9gr on April 29, 2011 - 4:04 am

    This is a fantastic post! I remember seeing Jason all over the news when this first occurred and he absolutely nothing short of a hero. He had moral courage to overcome a crippling disease and showed physical courage by remaining poised in a big game and helping his team to a victory!

  4. #4 by urpm6au on April 30, 2011 - 10:05 pm

    This is a truly inspiring story. With the missed shots, his journey is the epitome of “never giving up”. He conquered above his disability, doing things that some ordinary people could not do. That is truly inspirational.

  5. #5 by urfp2ae1 on May 2, 2011 - 12:24 am

    Inspirational story. A story that encourages people to never stop believing that one day good things will eventually happen for them. He never once quit the team even though it was very likely that he will never play. This is dedication. He loved the sport so much that he was willing to do anything just to be part of the team.

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