Each time one of the two Sardis Grade 9 boys basketball teams played a game this season, Rowan Bergen was in the ear of head coach Harvey Adrian, pleading to play.
Never lacking for energy or a love of b-ball, Bergen is a student-athlete with special needs and boundless enthusiasm who tried out for the team but wasn’t able to make the roster.
Instead, Adrian offered Bergen the role of team manager.
“He loves being with the boys and the boys love being with him too,” Adrian said. “He’s got such a great personality. He’s friendly and outgoing and the kids accept him in the classroom the same way they do on the basketball court.”
Rowan’s been at each and every practice.
|Rowan Bergen (No. 3 in white) puts a perfect fadeaway shot up during a Sardis versus Sardis Grade 9 boys basketball game last week. (Eric J. Welsh/ The Progress)|
On game days he’s been glued to Adrian’s elbow, except when he was off filling a teammates’ water bottle. And he never lost sight of his ultimate goal.
“Every time, he sits beside me on the bench and, it’s ‘Coach, can I go in? Coach, can I do in?’” Adrian chuckled.
The coach desperately wanted to grant Bergen’s wish and get him into a game, and finally, last week, he did.
In the days before a clash between the two Sardis teams, Adrian handed Bergen a white No. 3 jersey and told him he was going to play.
“He was so excited, he was telling everyone in the school,” Adrian said.
When he finally got out on the floor, Bergen turned into a layup machine, taking passes from his Sardis Green Falcons teammates and chucking up shots like Luca Doncic. After each make, he ran back to center court to do a cartwheel.
“His teammates gave him the ball and let him go,” Adrian said. “It was great to watch and Rowan just loved it.”