Evan was a bit of a book worm. At the age of two he learned the alphabet, by five he was reading at a third grade level, and by ten he could have gone to college, because he was so smart. Instead, Evan attended a private school for gifted children, closer to his age.
Evan’s father was a tall clean cut looking young man and Evan had grown up looking at his dad’s college basketball pictures from Notre Dame. His dad had even played a year of professional basketball until an injury forced him to retire from the game. The picture perfect family was deeply religious, and put their faith in higher powers. Evan was always told, from the time he was born, that he could be anything he wanted, but when Evan announced to his mother he wanted to play basketball just like his dad, the smile on his mother’s face changed a little and was not so wide.
Evan’s school had a basketball team, and Evan begged his mother to let him try out. Coach Stephens even called Evans mother and assured her Evan would be OK. “He’s a smart boy” the coach assured her “and “I’ll make sure nothing happens to him.” Evans mother hesitantly agreed, but warned Evan, if he got one scratch, she would put an end to this fantasy, as she called it.
Monday thru Thursday was practice, and the boys would practice from the end of the school day until seven pm. Coach Stephens was a good man and patient with the boys. He was a member of several fraternal organizations and volunteered for the Red Cross. He had lost his wife several years ago but did not talk about it and the people this small Midwestern town respected his privacy.
As days and weeks passed Evan got better at his game, he could more often than not make a basket from the penalty line and even sometimes from half court. He was great on defense and had a way of exciting the crowd like a star the crowd would scream with excitement when Evan entered the court, and it was even reported that because of Evan’s rugged good looks young ladies were known to swoon when Evan was around. Evan’s playing only got better; he was written up in several national sports journals and was recruited by several prestigious colleges. He had sponsors and received endorsement deals and was almost on a box of cereal. His academic abilities never diminished, he graduated from high school at 16 and by the time he was 18 Evan had earned two college degrees, in biology and sports physiology. By the time he was nineteen he was serious about a girl and at 21 he married her. By 23 he was active in politics and by 25 mayor of the town he grew up in.
Like his mentor coach Stephens, he was a generous and a kind man, and started several charitable organizations for young people. Evan even wrote a motivational book. As years have come and gone, Evan Ford looks back at his accomplishments, his education, his marriage, his contributions to society and his friendships but the one thing that Evan is most proud of is the award he received June 6th 1969, All Star North American Wheelchair Basketball Player, not because of the award, but because that was the day, his mother really smiled again.