A few months back, Ike Ditzenberger, a young man with Downsyndrome, scored a 51-yard touchdown for his high school football team. It made the national news. In fact, he reportedly got a movie contract out of themoment. More recently, Guideposts deemed his story one of the Top TenInspirational Stories of 2010.
Here are the facts: Ditzenberger practiced with the team,but he didn’t usually see playing time. In this game, he had been sitting onthe bench until the final minutes. His team was down 35-0. So his coach put himin with a plan to execute one more play, “the Ike special.” The players fromthe opposing team agreed to let Ike carry the ball to the end zone. It went offwell. Ike ran the ball and scored a touchdown. And, due to the wonders of You Tube, his moment of glory extended beyond thebounds of their small town in Washington State, from coast to coast. You can watch the video here:
I receive a daily Google alert with news stories about Downsyndrome and individuals with Down syndrome, and Ike’s story showed up dailyfor over a week. I kept thinking I’d write about it, but I wasn’t sure how torespond. People obviously found it inspirational. It was really nice that Ike’steammates (and perhaps, even more so, the opposing team) wanted him to have histime in the spotlight. And yet something bothered me about it too.