The Game of His Life

I just finished reading a great book called “The Game of My Life”by Jason McElwain. You may not recognize the name, but you’ve probably seen his story before. Jason is the young man who a couple of years ago made 6 three-pointers in a high school basketball game. That doesn’t sound that out of the ordinary, right? Well, Jason has autism and this was the only varsity game he ever played in. He served as the team manager doing things like getting water, etc. For the team’s last regular season game, he was allowed to play and entered the game with about 4 minutes to play. To say he made the most of those 4 minutes, would be a huge understatement. In case you haven’t seen his story or have forgotten, here’s a look at one of the stories on Jason that made the rounds a couple of years ago.

I remember seeing that story when it first came out and thinking it was very inspirational, but I had little understanding of what autism was. Fast forward to a couple years later….our precious little boy is diagnosed with autism and I suddenly remember that story about the kid making all those 3 pointers. Jason’s story took on a whole different significance for me in an instant.

Jason now has a book out where he talks about that big game and what it’s been like growing up autistic. Interspersed throughout the book are thoughts from his parents, his brother, coaches, and teammates. Jason’s writing is quite a freewheeling, stream-of-consciousness style which makes it all the more effective. This isn’t a polished memoir. You really get to know what life is like for this autistic teen.

It’s so remarkable to see how far he’s come in life given that he was diagnosed with severe autism as a young child. He certainly wasn’t given a prognosis for a bright future, but as you’ll read in the book, his parents never gave up on him. What impressed me most about Jason after reading this book wasn’t the fact that he made a bunch of baskets in a game, but rather that he was more concerned about his teammates ‘staying focused’ during the ensuing play-off run that he didn’t play in after his big game.

In a world where autistic children are constantly being told what they won’t be able to do…it’s refreshing to read a first-hand account from someone who never stopped dreaming.

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