YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Ever watch a video of a kid’s day being made? That kid stepping on the court, making a basket, and just feeling part of the team?
Well, this is every game for York Suburban sixth grader, Braydon Flynn.
Braydon has Down syndrome and that has never stopped him from being a regular kid.
He fell in love with basketball at a young age when his parents bought him a hoop so that he could play in the driveway.
However, it wasn’t until one particular recess that Braydon’s mom heard he was playing with the kids in his grade.
“We started hearing, during recess, [that] Braydon is actually playing with the boys during recess and I’m like, ‘Really!?'” said Rebecca Flynn, Braydon’s mom.
That time was spent creating some inseparable bonds among classmates.
“I treat him like anyone else, like as my friends. I treat him the same [as them]. I think he should get the respect that other people should,” said teammate Grant Stough.
Grant was already playing on the Suburban York Basketball Club Team A.
“So, when I heard about SYBC, I said let’s call them and see if they will give Braydon a shot, let him try out just like everyone else,” said Rebecca.
Sure enough, Braydon tried out just like any other kid trying out for the team.
“They sent out the roster and he was on it. It was the best feeling in the world!” Braydon’s mom said.
“Our initial thought was, ‘Alright coach, we get it, you need to win. This is a competitive team.’ [But] coach said, ‘he’s a player, he will play,’” she continued.
And that’s exactly what happened, he may get a few seconds or minutes to shine, but whenever it’s his time- whether in a game or during halftime- everyone is there supporting him.
“It gives me the chills. When he scores, that place blows up and it erupts like that for him, that support… it gives everyone the chills. I think there’s a lot of tears in people’s eyes,” said head coach Keoni Stryhn.
One person who can’t hold back the emotions is Braydon’s mom. All she’s ever wanted is for her son to be treated like every kid that steps on the court.
“To see my son is a part of a community, a part of a family, it’s great. The coaches never had a player with Down syndrome on a team before, they have opened up and said [that they’re] treating him like everyone else. If we’re running laps, he’s running laps,” Rebecca said.
Braydon is reminding everyone that it’s something bigger than basketball.
“My friend has been sharing Braydon’s videos, it makes her proud because she has a special needs daughter. Somebody else that’s a friend of hers, has a special needs son and wants the same thing but he’s been so afraid and now she’s not afraid. She just reached out and said [they’re] doing it,” said Rebecca.
Next year, the whole team will try out for the middle school team, including Braydon, inspiring others to break out of their shell and try.