Rachel Glander was a book worm, studying hard in high school until her mother told her she couldn’t just do that… so she decided to ask to join the dance team as the manager, because she was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair. The coach of the dance team, Stacey Ross, is a special education teacher, and tells Rachel to try out. She does, and makes the team. Rachel uses her arms to perform the moves her legs can not do. Her teammates help, by wheeling her out onto the basketball court, by carrying things for her, by being her friend. And pretty much, by ignoring the fact that she’s in a wheelchair, except when she needs help.
I had that in high school. I was the manager of my basketball team. A lot can change in 30 years though, and I applaud Plymouth High School for giving Rachel the chance to do more – to be more. She will carry these memories forever, and the experiences will help her throughout her entire life.
This won’t just help Rachel either. This will help the non-disabled kids on her squad seeing a disabled person work to do something they want to do. Show that a disabled person can do something that is ‘normal’ and enjoy doing it.
Rachel touched many a life the first time she rolled out onto the basketball court. Many of the parents out there were in tears seeing her performing. it shouldn’t be so… Twenty years after the ADA, we should be seeing more than just one person able to dance from a wheelchair and it should be something we notice and think “That’s nice”, and it should feel no different than seeing an person of a different race doing something. But, that time will come. I just hope I”m alive to see it.