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September 9, 2008

Obama and the Boy with Down syndrome

September 9, 2008 | By | 3 Comments

The Dude broke his hand in a football game for the Yorktown Patriots. Charmaine and Your Business Blogger(R) and Baby Boo sat with him yesterday as a cast was applied and immobilized his hand.

The Dude was not in especially good spirits. And friends rallied around him to encourage and commiserate. To lightly cheer him on.

Teenagers who showed compassion?

Lots of adults, too showed real interest — and not just the coaches….

laplante_football.JPG

Lyndon LaPlante It seems that The Dude was indeed lifted up. But Charmaine and I noticed something more. The giving, the compassion, the caring did more for the giver than the getter.

The Dude was injured and would play again in a few weeks. However, we were able to get the briefest glimpse of the good, the Divine that is seen in small acts of charity.

Life’s real challenges are designed, it seems, not for the afflicted but for those who surround the sufferer. Life’s pitfalls, large and small, reveal the character of the bystander.

Does the onlooker render care or complain? What does the Good Samaritan do?

***

Another football story, a few years ago, came out of Texas. It’s the story of Lyndon LaPlante who scored a touchdown. Lyndon has Down syndrome . The Dallas Morning News reports:

Keller Senior with Down Syndrome Fulfills Dream

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

By TIM MacMAHON / The Dallas Morning News

The home crowd at Keller ISD Stadium rose to its feet as soon as Lyndon LaPlante jogged onto the field during the fourth quarter Friday night.

The fans went wild during LaPlante’s 99-yard touchdown run, which ended with him being mobbed in the end zone by his Keller teammates.

Never mind that the pre-arranged play didn’t count. It fulfilled a dream for LaPlante, a senior who has . . .

Watch the video clip here.

Continue reading at the jump.

. . .Down syndrome. He maximized the moment by flashing a Heismanesque stiff arm as he crossed the goal line and hamming it up on the sideline after play resumed in Keller’s 35-21 win over Richland High Schools.

“Man, it was awesome!” said LaPlante, who was still cradling the game ball when his mother, Genni, woke him up Saturday morning. “Everybody said, ‘Lyndon! Lyndon! Lyndon!’ I was crying with chills.”

Keller coach Kevin Atkinson had planned for three years to get LaPlante a carry his senior season. He hoped an opposing coach would agree to allow LaPlante to take a handoff and run over to the sideline to hug his coach.

Atkinson mentioned the idea to Richland coach Gene Wier, who suggested LaPlante should score. They agreed it would happen on Keller’s first offensive play of the fourth quarter and notified the officiating crew before the game.

Perhaps it was fate that a Richland punt pinned Keller on its 1-yard line, giving LaPlante as much glory as possible.

Moments earlier, LaPlante had called his father, Don, to the guardrail behind the Keller bench. “I’m goin’ in! I’m goin’ in!” he said.

LaPlante has been a part of Keller’s program since his freshman year, when he served as the freshman team’s manager. Atkinson, smitten by LaPlante’s upbeat personality, promoted him to student assistant head coach the next season. LaPlante specializes in motivational speeches, which usually focus on how much he loves Keller and his teammates.

“His heart is as big as Texas,” Atkinson said.

LaPlante’s unofficial duties also include greeting college coaches on campus to recruit. He’ll introduce himself, title and all, and chat away.

“I’ve played y’all on PlayStation,” LaPlante has told a few coaches, “and y’all aren’t very good.”

Atkinson allowed LaPlante to pick a position before his sophomore season. LaPlante chose to be a running back. He dresses out and goes through noncontact drills with the backs at the beginning of every practice. He’s been known to then retreat to Atkinson’s golf cart for a nap.

LaPlante, No. 1 on the roster, has suited up for every varsity game the last two seasons. He gets two carries during pregame drills every week. He usually removes his shoulder pads once the game starts and concentrates on taking pictures.

With some help from his mother, LaPlante has made a photo slideshow for the team at the end of each season. One ended with a mug shot of him accompanied by four words:

“Put me in, Coach.”

###

Thank you (foot)notes:

Hat tip to Alert Reader Ron Newton.

Originally published “Put me in, Coach.”

What “despair” is Obama talking about?

In a discussion of abortion itself, Obama wrote that government has more important business than “ensuring that any particular fetus is born.”

He also decried any limits on abortion, saying the government has an interest in “preventing increasing numbers of children from being born in to lives of pain and despair.”

Your Business Blogger(R) et al including The (broken hand) Dude will be at the McCain – Palin rally tomorrow in Fairfax, Virginia: A casting call…

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Comments

  1. Michele

    Jack, This is very insightful. Makes me stop and think what God want to change in me through those He has put in my life. We love you all — sorry for J. He’ll be back, I know.

  2. Jack Yoest

    Michele, thank you for your note…of compassion. The Dude is much better and still practicing — non-contact — to stay in shape.

    I think he’s going to posting some football video soon.

    Anyway, we are working to keep him healthy. One college scout and former pro-football player said that the ‘NFL’ stands for ‘Not For Long’ meaning that the average player tenure is quite short and turnover is high in the pros.

    So we are still looking for that Redskins contract. We have to.

    I’ve already spent the signing bonus…

    Thanks again,

    Jack (and Charmaine)

  3. Give the Dude a hug from his Aunt Carol…or if he’s too big to hug, just tell him I’m sorry he broke his arm.

    I’m excited about your visit to the McCain/Palin rally. Please post pictures and a report quickly!

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