Ike Ditzenberger, Down Syndrome Football Player, Scores TD in HS Game
As fans, we often get too caught up in all that's wrong with sports -- the bonehead plays, the dumb coaching decisions, and worse: all the off-field silliness that usually includes arrests and jail time. But it's important to remember that sports is supposed to serve as a distraction; a means for taking our minds off the real-world stuff, if only for a few hours a week.
Ike Ditzenberger is a perfect example of all that is right with sports. Ditzenberger, who has Down syndrome, is a junior at Snohomish (WA) High School. And last Friday, he did what every high school football player wants to do: he scored a touchdown.
With 10 seconds left in a game against Lake Stevens, Ditzenberger ran for a 51-yard touchdown that accounted for Snohomish's only points in the 35-6 loss. According to Heraldnet.com, it was the same play that ends each Snohomish practice, and is aptly called the Ike Special.
And in a true show of sportsmanship, the Lake Stevens players and coaches made it all possible. Via Yahoo.com's Prep Rally blog:
The Vikings' coaches not only instructed their players to let Ditzenberger score, but to make it look relatively competitive in the process to make the moment more real for the Snohomish junior. In the video ... you can see a handful of Lake Stevens defenders make diving runs at Ditzenberger, only to come up agonizingly short. Or perhaps gleefully short, in this case.Ditzenberger came to love football while watching his brothers play. His mother, Kay, explained to the Everett Herald (by way of Yahoo.com) why football is so important to Ike: "[Down syndrome kids] don't learn by what they hear; they learn by what they see... So he's a real imitator. For him to be able to watch and learn by doing, and to be like his older brothers, is a really big deal."