As the old saying goes, “Many hands make light work.”
Tristan Garcia is 14 years old yet he’s never experienced the thrill of sending a basketball soaring through the air and through the net with a satisfying “swish.” Tristan has cerebral palsy that keeps him confined to a wheelchair, but he still adores basketball and dreams of making shots like his idol Kobe Bryant.
Special education teacher Elizabeth Castillo works closely with Tristan at Harris Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, and she knew that the simple act of making a basket would be one of the highlights of this young man’s life to date. As the school prepared for a fun teachers vs. students basketball game to celebrate the end of the school year, Elizabeth began working to make Tristan’s dream a reality.
“I guess being a special ed teacher, I don’t ever see the disabilities. I think I see what the kids don’t see in themselves,” Elizabeth explained. After the teachers and students faced off in the big game, Elizabeth gathered players and fans together to help Tristan achieve his modest goal.
In a video that’s quickly going viral, we see a large group of students and teachers gathered around Tristan in his wheelchair. As the group begins to chant his name, Tristan tries again and again to lift the ball high enough to get to the net. After a few failed attempts the team moves him closer to the basket and helps him stand up slightly, but he’s still not quite there.
This group isn’t about to let him down, though. After watching him miss several times the coaches finally band together to lift the teen straight out of his chair so that he can get close enough to the hoop. Finally, Tristan’s shot is straight and true, swishing through the hoop as the entire crowd lets out an excited whoop that would warm even the coldest heart.
“The kids were all cheering and the teachers were all crying. We got to witness a miracle for Tristan,” Elizabeth said later.
Being a part of a community means taking care of every member, and this school has clearly mastered this philosophy! These dedicated teachers and coaches simply refused to stop trying until Tristan got his basket, and the fact that they had to lift him up to do it is a terrific metaphor for how we should all support one another each day.
Watch the heartwarming moment when Tristan makes his first basketball shot below and be sure to share.
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