Anyone who saw video of Greece-Athena (NY) high school basketball in 2006 will never forget their emotion when senior Jason “J-Mac” McElwain came onto the court and proceeded to score 20 points and set the entire gymnasium into a frenzy. Jason, born with autism, was the basketball team’s manager for the season. In the division championship game, Greece-Athena got a large lead so head coach Jim Johnson let Jason play. Jason missed his first two shots but then sank 6 3-point shots and 1 2-point shot.
The crowd rushed the court, hoisting Jason in the air, and America watched the video of the game over a million times, many with tears in their eyes, inspired by the young man’s performance.
Jason is back in the news this week after qualifying for the Boston Marathon competing in his first ever marathon-distance race. Jason finished 15th in the Rochester Marathon with a time of 3:01:41, over three minutes below the Boston Marathon qualification cut-off of 3:05.
What he considered “the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” has now put Jason into position to compete at the April 2014 Boston Marathon. Jason continues to inspire others with his desire to compete. We cannot wait until April 2014 when Jason crosses the Boston Marathon finish line.