Hoop dream comes true for Moncton teen with cerebral palsy
Published Thursday, December 6, 2018 11:02PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, December 6, 2018 11:09PM AST
Ben Mowat has had a love for the game of basketball for as long as he can remember.
Growing up with cerebral palsy, a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination, he didn't have an easy path, but that never stopped him from playing.
“This disability won't stop you unless you let it stop you,” said Mowat, a Grade 12 student at Bernice MacNaughton High School. “So really from a young age I treat it as the mentality that you can do whatever you want.”
Mowat played provincial basketball until Grade 8, when he decided to go take on a manager's role for his high school team.
This year, during a much anticipated basketball tournament, Mowat was given an opportunity he'll never forget.
When his teammate and longtime friend, Ben Dool, offered to hang up his jersey for a game and let Mowat play.
“When I had the opportunity to do it, I didn’t give it a second thought,” said Dool, a Grade 11 student. “I just said ‘it's Ben, and I want to do it for him.”
The moment of the night struck when Mowat put up a three point shot -- sinking the basket -- surprising himself, and everyone around him,
"Once it went in, I looked over at the bench and it was pretty cool to see all the guys jumping up and down and cheering for me,” Mowat said.
Said Dool: “Everyone just went wild. Our whole bench stood up; we went crazy.”
His parents watched from the crowd, tears of joy in their eyes.
“The pride he had when he put on that BMHS jersey is a moment we will never forget,” said Kim Mowat.
Mowat topped off the night with player of the game honours, and an inspiring message to those living with disabilities.
“Don't give up,” Mowat said. “People will tell you that you can't do stuff and that's not true. You just gotta work hard and your dreams aren't out of reach.”
His parents couldn't be prouder.
“For young parents out there with kids with disabilities -- don't give up,” said Jeff Mowat.
“I agree with Jeff,” Kim Mowat said. “It was 17 years ago when we found out that Ben had cerebral palsy, that he had suffered a stroke, and we didn't know what the future would hold. I wished I could have seen a game like that 17 years ago.”
It was a night Mowat will never forget, with hoop dreams as big as his heart and the circle of friends around him.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.