There are plenty of inspirational stories about high school sports out there, but this one out of Rumson-Fair Haven High School in New Jersey might top every single one of them.
Stephen Edelson of the Asbury Park Press wrote about a truly magical night for Jack Velcamp, a senior at Rumson-Fair Haven who has been managing the boys basketball team since he was a fourth grader. Jack was born with dwarfism, and on senior night, he got to play his very first game with the Rumson-Fair Haven basketball team.
And what a game it was. First, Jack was introduced with the rest of the seniors at the start of the game, which is when this completely rad moment happened.
Then Velcamp started the game, and attempted a few shots that didn’t make it. But with 3:49 left in the first quarter, he charged to the basket and sunk a layup. When the ball went in, his teammates sprung off the bench and took to the court, swarming around him with joy and congratulations.
— Jersey Sports Zone (@JSZ_Sports) February 2, 2018
Velcamp took the court with the support of a lot of people. His coach, Chris Champeau, is the man who decided that Jack deserved to play. It makes even more sense once you know that he’s the person who originally invited Jack to become the team manager eight years ago.
Velcamp’s teammates were also completely on board with Jack getting some playing time on senior night. But Champeau credits the opposing team’s coach, Holmdel High School’s Sean Devaney, with truly making it happen.
“One of the reasons I wanted this as a game is that Sean (Devaney) is a class act. I think he’s the best coach at the Shore,’’ Champeau said. “We had discussions about what it meant to the kid, and it was one of those deals where he said ‘whatever you need, we’ll do.'”
To say that Velcamp was grateful, appreciative, and touched would be an understatement. He was all that and more when he spoke to Edelson after the game.
“It was sick. I was waiting eight years,’’ he said. “And throughout those eight years I have been through so many teams, so many athletes I’ve learned so much from and I applied everything I learned here tonight.
“And this group in general, I know we’re seniors but we have such a tight bond, that’s what makes it special. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anybody but them. They hype me up, they love me and it’s just insane. Coach Champ, I love him because he gave me an opportunity to play tonight, My family, they have been through a lot, my brother (PJ), he’s been helping me train ever since I found out I was going to start.’’
Velcamp left the game after the layup. And even though Rumson-Fair Haven won the game against Holmdel, most of the players, or the fans in the sellout crowd, probably won’t remember the result of the game.
Instead, they’ll remember 4-foot-2 Jack Velcamp and his one shining moment.
– – – – – –