In early July, the clock showed less than three minutes to play and coach Brian Murray’s Ellicott Hawks were down by double digits in their Mid American Youth Basketball tournament game in Pueblo, Colorado. With the outcome apparent, the Canutillo (Tex.) Select Junior Varsity put 16-year-old Adrian Martinez into the game for the first time.
Adrian practices hard, but he sees little action in games because his mother says that the coach fears that someone will injure him. She is fine with her son’s limited playing time because “just the simple fact that he sits on the bench with the rest of the team as a player and not just as a manager means a lot to him.”
Fourteen years ago, Adrian Martinez was diagnosed with autism.
Letting a basketball player score points or a wrestler register a pin runs
counter to every instinct of athletes who are trained to want to win.
True sportsmen care about the score, and they do not normally let up on
the opponent during the game. But true sportsmen also care about respect
for the opponent’s dignity, as we find out from Doug Abrams in this month's Youth Sports Heroes.