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Sportsmanship at its finest!

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Mayerthorpe Girls show us how its done!

by Nola Langdale, Head Coach, MHS Sr Girls Handball

We have one player on our team who has autism spectrum disorder - Torie. Over the past couple of years Torie has been our manager, however; this year we convinced her to play. The other girls on the team were very patient with Torie, encouraging her throughout practices. For our first two tournaments, the team would help her to set up properly for defence and offence, never getting upset when she made a mistake that resulted in a goal. Instead they would offer tips and support and encourage Torie to not give up. During these tournaments, the team would do their best to set Torie up to try and get her first goal.

Just over a week ago, we were in Wainwright for Tier II Provincials. During our first game, Torie had blocked a hard shot, unfortunately, with her face. This understandably hurt considerably and sidelined Torie for the rest of the game as well as for the second game. Our third game that day was against a team that was in the process of rebuilding. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity for Torie to try and get her first goal.  

Through the first half, Torie's teammates kept feeding her the ball and getting her to shoot. As the half went on, it became very apparent what her teammates were doing and the crowd would cheer when Torie would shoot and moan when the goalie stopped the shot or she missed the net. At half time and during time outs, my team was strategizing on the best spot for Torie to be to get the ball and get a goal. As the game went on, Torie was able to score twice, however both were called back because of line violation. As time ticked down, my team kept feeding her the ball to get that goal. Finally with only seconds left, Torie got the ball and scored her first goal!

All the spectators, scorekeepers, teams playing and those teams waiting to play next were on their feet cheering for Torie. It was the most amazing experience and one never to be forgotten! The support from her teammates was incredible and showed true sportsmanship!

As a coach, I was never prouder of a team. As Torie's mom, what my team did for Torie cannot be put into words! This is what sports are all about!

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