By now many of you probably know the story of Mitchell Marcus, a student with a developmental disability who loves basketball and is the manager of his high school team in El Paso, the Coronado Thunderbirds.
Marcus went viral a few weeks ago when he not only suited up to play in the final game of the season but scored the season’s final basket after a player on the opposing team tossed Marcus the ball.
What you probably don’t know is that Marcus is also the nephew of one of our very own bloggers, Linda Burger, who directs the Jewish Family Service of Houston, home of the Alexander Institute, which boasts a robust program for adults with disabilities.
Below find a description of the game written by Marcus’ brother, Troy.
Friends of Mitchell-
As many of you all know, Mitchell has spent the last four years as the manager of the Coronado basketball team. Like each of you, this team has been such a blessing to him and surely the defining point of his high school years. Last night was Senior night for the T-birds and boy was it special. The stands were filled with Mitchell supporters (everyone from his co-workers at MIMCO, to family, friends, our accountants, even the city’s next mayor!) The night started with heartfelt senior introductions, and of course Mitchell’s was saved for the last.
When it came time to introduce Mitchell, who was suited up in a team jersey this game (he usually wears team warm-ups), the crowd went wild! There were students wearing hand-made shirts with “Mitchell The Manager of The Year” (photo attached) and there were blown-up posters with his face on them, but nothing meant more to him than the crowd erupting when his name was called, following this up with “WE LOVE MITCHELL” chants. While it hurts to say this, my riveting speeches during my student body president days have now been trumped (ten-fold) on highest decibel levels reached in the Coronado gym!
The game was a great one, as the two rivals fought for the Pride of the Westside. Franklin played tough and got the game within five points with only four minutes left in the game. But the T-Birds were able to pull away, garnering a 14-point lead with under two-minutes to go, which meant the fireworks were about to start… Coach Morales pulled Mitchell off of the bench and put him into the game, sending the crowd into a frenzy!
The team had one goal now and that was to get Mitchell the ball. The building was shaking and the first few shots that Mitchell took were thrown off by it. Then with 10-seconds to go in the game, a pass to Mitchell ended up out-of-bounds…eliminating his chances of scoring this game… or so we thought. In an act that only a truly special Franklin team would come up with, instead of trying to get in a final score, they inbounded the ball to Mitchell (who, like the rest of us, was not prepared for this), but he took it in stride, sealing the game off with a lay-up and his first score of the season.
The crowd went wild and stormed the court. With over a thousand fans circling Mitchell, chanting his name, lifting him up in the air (see attached photo), the stadium was filled with laughter and tears, chants and Blue and Gold pride, but above all else an incredible level of respect for the opponent, who fought hard but understood that this game was more than just a game for one special boy.