When you think of the most valuable members of a high school sports team, you probably do not think right away of the ball boy. But if you were to ask the students at JL Mann High School who the most valuable member of the team is to them, “the ball boy” may very well be the answer you would get.
Who is this special ball boy? His name is Max McChesney, and he was born with cerebral palsy.
When Max was a baby, the doctors told his mother that the birth trauma that had caused his cerebral palsy may, ultimately, prevent him from ever being able to walk or even talk. They assumed a “worst case scenario” stance, and they advised Max’s mother to do the same.
As the years went by, however, Max continued to beat the odds that had been set in place as a result of his cerebral palsy, as he not only grew to be able to walk and talk, but also grew to become what many describe as a bright light in their days, every single day!
“He just brings joy to the team. He comes out every day and just has a bright smile, and when your day isn’t going so well you’ve got Max there,” said one of the students at JL Mann High School. But it’s not all fun and games with Max; no, he also makes sure the players on the team know he is keeping an eye on them, and he will make sure they are giving it their all at all times.
“He always tells us he’s watching us, you know, he’s going to get on our case when we come off for halftime,” said one of the players. At a recent game, however, the team broke from their regular halftime routine. Instead of the head coach bringing the boys together and making adjustments to the game plan, the head coach told Max that he was the star that day. After this revelation, Max was brought out – to swells of cheers from the crowd – to score a goal with his teammates gathered around. It was a special moment for Max – a moment he will remember and cherish for the rest of his life. But of course, after his moment in the spotlight was finished, it was back to business: helping the boys on the team to make adjustments to their play, and helping them to strive toward a win.
There are surely great things in store for Max in his future – each and every day, after all, those around him catch glimpses of this potential he has. For the moment, however, there is nothing Max would rather be doing than exactly what he is doing: being the heart and soul – the MVP – of the JL Mann High School sports teams.