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The Muse

March 17, 2006

J-Mac in da house!

There are a lot of things to dislike about the US. Current politics, arrogance, George W, Iraq, immigration, George W, oil, Dick Cheney, George W (you get the idea). But there are some things that are still unique to this country, and when such things happen, its all good.

Last week there has been an uproar over the actions of Jason McElwain. He is a high school student from Greece Athena High School. He was such a fan of basketball, that even though he was not on the team, he attended every single practice and every single game of his school's team. He would be the water boy, do errands and basically just shout and encourage his team mates at each and every game.

So, he was given an opportunity to suit up for the final regular season game. I think there were around five minutes left or something like that. In the next 240 seconds, he shot 6 consecutive 3 pointers and tied a school record. By the time the clock wound down, there was mayhem everywhere and his team mates, fans, staff, opposing teammates, everyone ran into the court and hoisted him on their shoulders.Just seeing the video gives you goosebumps.That's when Jason McElwain became J-Mac.

You see, J-Mac, is autistic. He started speaking only when he was 5 years old. And the grainy 2 minute video clip that was shot by a schoolmate Marcus Luciano became the clip that held the nation enthralled. Any and all newspapers, internet news magazines and TV networks have aired the clip. ESPN picked up the story and CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox, MTV - you name it, they have aired it. J-Mac met George W, he has appeared on Good Morning America and his folks said that they have received calls from studios ranging from the Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. to independent documentary filmmakers. Magic Johnson called to congratulate him and he is scheduled to appear on Oprah and Ellen.


As someone who has friends with this disorder, I cannot be happier. J-Mac has single handedly created so much awareness for autism and its social impact. J-Mac, his coach Jim Johnson, and his teammates are celebrities and heroes now, and this too shall pass. But there is no doubt that his feat will linger in memory for some time to come.

J-Mac says "I'm not really that different. I don't really care about this autistic situation, really. It's just the way I am. The advice I'd give to autistic people is just keep working, just keep dreaming, you'll get your chance and you'll do it."

And folks, this excitement, this spontaneity, this kind of fame and feel good media frenzy, it is something that still happens only in the United States. Rock on!

5 Comments:

  • awsome dude very cool...
    Good Inspiration too... ;-) - Satish(pk)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 AM  

  • Rock on!

    By Blogger prasanna, at 5:57 PM  

  • Reminds me of the Adam Sandler movie "Waterboy".

    By Blogger prasanna, at 5:57 PM  

  • Story reminds me of the movie "Rudy" after the same character who played football for the Irish (Notre Dame) in the 70s. Its the will power and sheer determination. Well, Rudy unfortunately did not score any touchdowns, but he was the only Irish to be hoisted on shoulders and paraded off the football field.

    By Blogger Umesh, at 3:53 PM  

  • Thanks Kola and Pras. Yeah, kinda like Waterboy huh?

    Hey Umesh, yup I remember Rudy. I think it was played by the LOTR guy (Frido's friend perhaps?). Anyways, that truly was inspiration and will.

    By Blogger Ram, at 10:05 PM  

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