A School, A Team, A Dream

This week, last week's media star Jason McElwain was back in his shirt and tie, back to his regular role as manager of the Greece Athena High School basketball team.

But even though McElwain has returned to the sidelines, he is by no means out of the limelight, reports CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman.

At school, he's now signing autographs for just about everybody and their sister.

Hollywood is also hounding him to sign. McElwain's mom, a dental hygienist, says they've already heard from Disney and Warner Brothers.

"We've got 25 right now," Debbie McElwain says of the offers, adding "we're gonna decide what to do."

It all started when McElwain got a chance to play during the last game of the regular season. Jason is autistic, so the coach was just hoping he could make a basket. Of course we now know he did — with astonishing regularity. In four minutes, he sank six 3-pointers, including a bomb at the buzzer.

When fans tore from the stands they created one indelible moment. By now just about everyone has seen the ending, but hardly anyone knows the beginning.

"The essence of the story is what happened before the moment. It's the six years before the moment," Greece Athena principal Helen Wahl says.

Wahl says believe it or not, six years ago this school district was cited by the state of New York for not doing enough for kids with disabilities. Inclusion? Not here. Kids like McElwain went to special schools.

But since then, Greece Athena has become downright progressive.

"People are friends with me and nice to me," McElwain says when asked if he fits in. "I don't get teased or anything."

At the school, so-called "regular" kids and special education kids work hand in hand, often literally.

The special ed. students are such a part of this school that at first, the team didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. To them, McElwain is just their manager.

"We kind of forgot he was autistic. He became so much a part of us and a part of our program that we kind of forgot about it," teammate Steven Kerr says.

The team's attitude has McElwain's mom eternally grateful. "These are the greatest kids I've ever met. They're really great," she says.

That's why, if you look again, it may be Jason who makes the shots, but it's his friends who make the moment.
  • Sean Alfano

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

On Twitter