Rivals Work Together to Score a Touchdown

Hey, I’m all for snark and being an ass, but this is just an awesome story.

MATT_SP_091709_DRE_0557F_09-18-2009_821BJV4M_embedded_prod_affiliate_81Matt Zeisel is on his high school’s freshman football team but doesn’t usually get in to the games. However, he’s always near the coach, letting him know he’s available. With 10 seconds left in his team’s most recent game, down 46-0, coach Dan McCamy decided it was time for Matt — who has Down’s Syndrome — to make his season debut.

He told an assistant coach to get their team ready for the “Matt play” and then ran to the other team’s sideline.

“I’ve got a special situation,” McCamy remembers telling the opposing defensive coach David McEnaney. “I know you guys want to get a shutout. Most teams would want a shutout, but in this situation I want to know if maybe you can let one of my guys run in for a touchdown.”

“[The other] players, they didn’t hesitate at all,” McEnaney said. “They jumped right on board.”

The ball was snapped, Matt started off on a sweep play and took off; the defense knew to avoid contact but tried to make the play look as real as possible. 60 yards later, with his coach running alongside him on the sideline urging him on, Matt was in the end zone with his first touch of the season, and a pretty decent per-carry average.

“It’s just amazing how one play can mean so much to one kid and then to a team and then to a community,” McCamy said Thursday. “And now it’s spread not just to the community of St. Joseph, but now it’s spread across the region. How something so simple can impact so many — to me, that’s the amazing part about it.”

Matt’s dad, Mike, who has coached the basketball team for 19 years said, “It was just a good thing to see people realize that the value of winning is not (as) important as it is to participate and enjoy the game.”

The only bad part of this story, Matt’s mom was unfortunately not at the game, not expecting him to get in at all, and so missed seeing it live. But thankfully Mike was there and it was videotaped for her and their family to remember forever.

“It’s not necessarily about winning or losing,” said McCamy, “Obviously up in Maryville we lost the game. The end result, we lost the game, but when we went away, we were all kind of winners.

“Some of them get it now, but in due time all these kids who were a part of it will have a better understanding. When they grow up and they get older, everybody will realize the impact that maybe that play (has) had — not just on that kid’s life, because Matt will remember that forever — but on some of these other kids and what they may have been a part of.”


[Kansas City]

1 Response to “Rivals Work Together to Score a Touchdown”

  1. September 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    This story made http://detentionslip.org ! Check it out for all the wild headlines from our schools.

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