- A special-needs student at Colleyville Middle School played in the seventh-grade boys basketball game
- Fans, teammates and even opposing players cheered for Joseph McTighe as he took several shots
- He finally swished a shot late in the game to the delight of players, coaches and fans
Joseph McTighe has been a part of every game this season for the Colleyville Middle School Colts’ seventh-grade basketball team.
As one of the team’s managers, he hands out cups of water and high-fives his teammates during breaks in the action. He’s always at practice, working on his own basketball skills and lightening the mood with jokes.
His constant encouraging presence on the sidelines has been appreciated by teammates, coaches and fans.
On Tuesday night, Joseph got his chance to be in the spotlight.
The 13-year-old special education student was the focus of a new play during the last game of the season. Code name: Blue.
Parents Chip and Kristina McTighe watched the game from the edge of their seats in the bleachers.
“I’m more nervous for this game than I’ve been for any of my kids,” Chip McTighe said.
Joseph’s brothers Jack, a freshman, and Matthew, a senior, both at Colleyville Heritage High School, have played many basketball games.
Joseph first went into the game in the second quarter to loud cheers from the crowd. A teammate passed to him, and he shot, hitting the backboard. He played defense, running the floor. When he came off the court, his teammates gave him high fives. He got several more chances to score in the third and fourth quarters, with opponents from Grapevine Middle School even helping him retrieve the ball and waiting for him to shoot.
He scored near the end of the game from at least 12 feet from the basket. The crowd cheered long and loud. His parents recorded it all.
Joseph enjoyed the attention from teammates who surrounded him at the final buzzer. Then he went into the stands to hug his parents.
After Joseph left for the locker room, his dad teared up.
“When we found out he was going to be born with Down syndrome, we were scared. We prayed a lot,” Chip McTighe said. “We wanted him to have opportunities. I thank God for the opportunity everyone gave him tonight. I’m extremely grateful.”
Gabi Kanterman, the school’s adaptive physical education teacher and Joseph’s one-on-one coach, said Joseph earned his spot on the floor with his positive attitude and faithful presence at practice and games.
“He always shows up on time with a good attitude,” Kanterman said. “He hands boys water as they come off the court and cheers for them when they make a good play. He loves it.”