One of Noah's favorite things (and also his parents) is to go to see the Shelby men's basketball team play their home games. We've been doing this for the last couple of years. We found a perfect spot to put Noah and his wheelchair, where we feel he is safe.
Last year we reached out to the team to let them know how much Noah enjoyed seeing them in action. Their coach, Troy Schwemley, and some of the players, really took Noah under their wing and have since always made sure Noah was having a good time, and that he felt included . When the players are introduced at the beginning of the game, Noah waits in a line of students for the players to come and give them high-fives. This year, one player in particular, Austin Rohde, has really taken care of Noah.
He told me a few weeks ago, "We all know Noah would do anything be able to run up and down the court. Our basketball team looks up to him even more than he looks up to us. We see him with a smile on his face at EVERY home game. I can not tell you the boost of energy it gives us we see him cheering us on in the corner. A lot of people see the red rage as the home court advantage but for me personally it is Noah."
For the last few home games, every time Austin is introduced and gets to Noah in the line of high-fives, he presents Noah with a gift. One week it was a ball, autographed by the whole team, another time it was a wristband, another time a hat, and last night, he gave Noah a towel to twirl to help cheer on the team.
Below is a picture of Noah with all of his great Shelby Whippet basketball swag. We couldn't get him to stop moving around to even get a picture of him with his eyes open. He was talking and laughing through the whole photo shoot.
Last week, we asked if it would be possible to get a picture of Noah with the team. Both Austin and Coach Schwemley said they'd love to do that.
Last night at the game, we were told to "be ready". We didn't know if we were going to be whisked away to the locker room before the game or just what would happen.
The game last night proved to be a tough one for Shelby, but they played tough and held the Willard Flashes at bay as Shelby won 54-49.
Right after the game, we were told to stay in the gym and be patient. We never head out immediately anyway, so we hung out. Pretty soon, here came the entire team and the coaches. The lined up under the basket and put Noah in the middle of all of them as we snapped a few pictures. You can tell by the smiles on their faces they're all happy with their win last night.
We're so thankful for the Shelby basketball team and their continued support of Noah. I may not have grown up in this town, but I'm a Whippet now, and I will be for a long, long time.
And so will Noah...