ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Not many high school basketball managers get a party on their behalf -- especially not 10 years after graduation.
"It seems like just yesterday. It was a magical night back in 2006. Coach pointed his finger at me and I stepped onto the court for the first time in my varsity career."
Jason McElwain is autistic. Ten years ago it was his job to fetch water and mop up other people's sweat for the Greece Athena Trojans in Rochester, New York.
But for the last regular season game of his senior year, the coach let Jason -- better known JMac -- suit-up and play the final four minutes.
Everyone in the crowd was hoping for maybe an easy lay-up, at most. But JMac had other ideas -- he stepped outside the three-point line and drained it. He was just getting started.
"I just caught fire. I was hot as a pistol," he said. Jason ended up shooting six 3-pointers -- one right after the other.
He had 20 points total. And each time a shot went in his teammates and the crowd went a little crazier. His last basket, right at the buzzer, created total mayhem.
After we first told this story, big things started happening for JMac. We mean big things.
President George Bush requested an audience with him. "Our country was captivated by a story on the basketball court," Bush said.
He co-authored a book about himself. And perhaps the biggest change of all, is this: "It gave me confidence that I could do anything," Jason said.
After graduation, JMac became assistant coach at his old high school. His passion for the game hasn't faded a bit. His connection to the students is as strong as ever.
The only difference is that now, above it all, number 52 hangs near the rafters. His retired jersey is a reminder to all of us that there is greatness waiting in every kid.
We need to call their numbers.
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