PARKERSBURG W.Va, (WTAP)- “He said it doesn’t really matter how you get it up there, he just says try,” recalls Grayson Board, #50 on the Martin Elementary school basketball team.
A video of the team went viral last month during their championship game when Austin Jenkins, a fourth grader with cerebral palsy, stole the show.
“We decided in the fourth quarter. I wanted to get everyone in the game, and of course it was Austin’s time to get in there,” explains Coach Michael Newlon.
Newlon put Jenkins in the game to give him a shot at making a shot ,but he knew he would need a little help from his teammates. That’s when Coach Newlon enlisted the help of fifth grader Grayson Board.
“It was shocking because he could have picked any other fifth grader to help him and it was me,” he remembers.
“I thought with his ability…he should be able to work with him and get him maneuvered where he could hold his arms and get the ball up there and get it to go in and it just fell into place literally,” Newlon notes.
With a little assistance, Jenkins drained the bucket.
“I wanted to cry. I wanted to jump up and down. It’s been amazing how supportive people have been,” Christina Weaver, Jenkins' mother, explains.
Coach Newlon also notes that the team’s top priority is not to simply win games and tournaments.
“Being a good teammate is obviously number one. It’s not all about winning. We’ve stressed from the first day of practice that. It’s our job to teach them the basics, the fundamentals, how to shoot a layup, how to dribble properly…as a whole, the coaches in this league try to make it fun for everyone.”
The video of the team’s sportsmanship went viral with thousands sharing the message of wanting to “be like #50”.
Grayson however, is taking the praise with humbling maturity.
“I just like how everyone shares their positivity of helping other people who can’t really do the same things you can.”
“He is my boy and it gives me goosebumps but we’re proud of him for sure. It’s just who he is. Hopefully his #50 can continue in his heart, through life, sports, and everything. We’re just proud. we’re very proud,” says Jami Board, Grayson’s mother.
When asked what his message was to his teammates, Jenkins' response was simple:
“God bless them!”
The team played in the Wood County Recreation league and had 17 players this past season.