A Kansas high school basketball team has taken the touching step of making a young man with intellectual disabilities their honorary coach.
As reported by Kansas City NBC affiliate KSHB, Olathe West named Reece Hayden-White an honorary coach after the 9-year-old emerged as their most loyal fan. Hayden-White first met members of the team at a Special Olympics event in December and began attending every home game, sometimes taking in two games per week.
The relationships that have been forged in those games have made an indelible impression on Hayden-White and the players he befriended.
“He was the life of the party,” Olathe West head coach Brad Ball told KSHB. “He absolutely loves playing basketball. He was on the court playing with the guys the whole time.”
“The fact that they are willing to do that even it’s not on the court or anything, they’re carrying them and including them in their win last week, I mean that’s a really big thing,” Hayden-White’s mother, Katie, told KSHB.
Making him a coach for a game stands out as one of the special honors Hayden-White has experienced. As special as that may have been for him, there’s little question it mattered almost as much to the players who he was technically overseeing, if only for a day.