They call Clay Warner the “heart and soul of North Polk High School (Alleman, Iowa). Born with cerebral palsy that left him legally blind, Warner nevertheless pursued his dream of a spot on the school’s basketball team, eventually settling into a bench role with a dream of eventually making it on to the court.
He spent three seasons waiting for his name to be called until it finally was in one of his final games.
His name was called in a matchup against Roland-Story High School (Roland, Iowa). With North Polk trailing by an insurmountable margin late, and he didn’t miss his opportunity. Warner entered the game, positioned himself in an open spot on the floor 15 feet out on the right side of the court, and hoped to get a chance.
After Roland-Story connected on a pair of free throws, Warner’s teammates got the ball and brought it all the way up the floor, eventually essentially handing the ball off to Warner in a spot where he was open for a shot.
Unable to truly see properly, Warner released and drilled the attempt. The home crowd went wild, Warner’s mother apparently started tearing up, the opposing team gave him a round of applause and all were thrilled. In fact, the only person who wasn’t outwardly in a celebratory mode was Warner himself; he was too busy running back to play defense.
Warner is “a kid who loves the game of basketball more than anyone I’ve ever met,” North Polk coach Nick Wilkins told the Washington Post.
“(Warner’s moment in the game) was one of those times when you have chills running up and down your spine, something the team will remember forever.”