JAY COUNTY, Ind. — High school basketball tourney time is heating up all over Indiana.
The Jay County Patriots are having a season to remember, and it has had nothing to do with their wins and losses.
I made a road trip to meet their star teammate, Luke Vormohr. He is a senior who has Down syndrome. Luke is the team manager.
Luke embraces every task with a smile. I asked him about his constant great attitude.
“Are you always smiling?"
"Yeah," he told me. "I am happy, always happy!”
He makes everyone around him a better person, just because of his attitude.
Coach Jerry Bomholt is Luke’s biggest fan.
“If he walked out in the middle of practice, every kid out there would break into a smile. He will always make you smile because he smiles back at you," said Bomholt.
It's true. I witnessed it first hand. Luke came out on the floor and the team gathered around. Luke was giving the guys high fives and offering encouragement.
He always wants to do his part for the team, so every morning he shoots 3-pointers, just in case they ever needed him. The coach said Luke has a real work ethic.
"He shoots and he shoots and he shoots. And he just keeps shooting. That kid shooting 500 to 1,000 shots, every single day," Bomholt said.
The team made arrangements to start their final home game by honoring Luke and let him make a ceremonial lay-up. But Luke had other plans.
Luke made the lay-up and coach decided to put him back in during the final minute of the game. Luke went to work!
"I shot two 3s and the crowd is going crazy for me ... which is good," Luke said.
The students stormed the court and Luke finished with eight points. I asked Luke if he was confident he would make the shot.
"Oh yeah. Because I am good at it," Luke responded.
The coach said it was a night to remember.
"There is no question that evening some divine intervention took place and made for a special night for a young kid whose dream is to play basketball," Bomholt said.
A special night for Luke and an even better night for those who witnessed it. It is a reminder to all of us that our everyday interactions with others really do matter.
Senior Gavin Muhlenkamp summed it up best.
"If everybody had the same character and attitude as Luke, this world would be a lot better place. He just brings happiness to this team. When someone is having a bad day, he brings joy to them," Muhlenkamp said.
On this day, the team paid Luke back. He got to experience some very special joy.
Luke was on cloud nine.
"Are you famous around here now?" I asked him. "Oh yeah," Luke responded.