It’s March and you all know what that means? It’s time for college basketball, better known as March Madness. This is the time when colleges play hard and from their heart in hopes of being called, national champions. Dayton’s very own University of Dayton Flyers homeboys are balling and are number three in the nation and our community is hyped. Another great thing about this time; many stories will emerge about the players that will warm the hearts of many. One of those stories is about Josh Speidel.
Josh, who was a rising high school basketball player, had his dreams halted when he got into a horrific car accident. It left him with a traumatic brain injury and in a coma for six weeks.
Before Josh got into the accident, he had been accepted to the University of Vermont on a basketball scholarship. He was going to play the sport he loved and fulfill his dream, but can you imagine waking up to a new normal? The normal which seems as a horrible nightmare. A nightmare where all your dreams have fallen to the wayside?
No matter what anyone says, you still want to know what’s going to become of your life, especially if you can no longer do the one thing you love to do. When challenges such as this arise, it reminds us of the human spirit and there are people who care what happens to you. Inside the University of Vermont lies some of those special people I’m speaking of. Although Josh could no longer play competitive basketball, the university still allowed him to keep his scholarship and remain on the team.
A few weeks ago, on Senior night, during a game against the University of Albany, Josh made his debut playing in his first ever college game. He made a beautiful lay-up and scored two points making his college record perfect. The gracious act of kindness was a plan, not only by the home school, but also by the opposing team. What makes this story even better is before the ball was thrown to Josh, all his teammates on the court touched the ball. That really showed teamwork and unity.
Not only does the Josh Speidel Story warm my heart, but there is another story! A Hometown story about Ryan Custer who is a Wright State student. Ryan was also an up and coming basketball star who was left paralyzed after diving into a makeshift pool. Although he was unable to play basketball, Wright State let him keep his scholarship and remain on the team. Ryan was recognized during Senior Night not too long ago and I am certainly proud for his Raider Team. The WSU Raiders are on a winning streak and won the Horizon League Regular Season Title.
I was taught, there’s nothing in life better than your word. When promising to do something, you should follow through. That shouldn’t change when unforeseen situations arise. Although people with disabilities may not be able to do all things that require physical capabilities, it’s still important to be included and still get to be on the team and play in the game. I commend these two colleges for keeping their promise. You are really showing the world what it means to be, your brother’s keeper.