UDALL, Kan. The town of Udall had a different reason to celebrate the day after the Super Bowl. Spencer Irvin is an eighth grader with autism who finally got his chance to lace up his shoes for an Eagles basketball game after two seasons of cheering his teammates on from the bench.
“Yeah I was just overwhelmed with pure joy for him,” said Udall Middle School boy’s basketball coach, Tina Clausen.
Udall eighth grader Spencer Irvin has autism and he’s been on the middle school boy’s basketball team for a couple years alongside his teacher Tina Clausen.
Clausen used to be Irvin’s PARA when he was in seventh grade. “I asked his mom if he could be my manager to help him open up a little bit more and have a good time,” said Clausen. After the first year of Irvin being a team manager, Clausen knew she wanted him back for a second year. “So I’ve been planning it for about two year now. “
Clausen was planning to have Irvin suit up for their last home game of the season and score the first points of the game.
“My best part of it was making the shot. I was excited. I was about to cry,” said eighth grader Spencer Irvin with a big grin on his face.
Eighth grade teammate, Jenson Harness had a hand in setting Irvin up on the court. “After I got my name announced, I walked him through the rest of it,” said Harness. “And then he went and high-fived the fans and that was pretty cool cause there was a lot of them. And he made it on his first shot so that was really cool.”
“Warmups he was a little nervous. But he practiced every day,” said Clausen.
“After every practice, before we break down, he always makes his first shot and we’re all just one big family,” said teammate Isaac Johnson.
When thinking about how the crowd and his teammates reacted after he sunk the bucket, Irvin said, “Everyone was happy. And all of the people were crying on the bleachers, even my mom was crying.”
After making his first shot in his first ever basketball game, Irvin was swarmed by his proud teammates on the sideline.
When asked if he knew he was going to score on his first shot, Irvin said, “Yep. I know this.”