CINCINNATI — This is not a story about any type of physical limitation, or condition.
I am purposely choosing not to include any “diagnosis." That’s not what this story is about.
"Caring,” said La Salle basketball coach Pat Goedde. “Gavin is all about that. Everything he talks about is opportunity."
You can often find Gavin Reupert at a La Salle basketball or football practice.
The senior has been the student manager for the football team his entire high school career. He took the same job with the basketball team this season.
"With him becoming the student—” said Goedde, before stopping. “I hate calling him the student manager. He's one of the guys. He's on the team.”
Gavin was never able to be the one with a jersey on, though… That is, until one game, this month.
"It was surreal,” said Reupert. “I never expected this opportunity."
That word has been mentioned twice, now.
Indeed, that is what this story is about. Opportunity.
"He's earned this opportunity,” said Goedde. “It isn't like we’re giving him something. This is something he has earned."
"Thursday when I was walking out of school,” recalled Reupert. “Coach called me and said to stop by the trainer's room. He gave me a jersey and said to start practicing.”
That’s exactly what Gavin did. Goedde told Gavin he was going to get in the game the following night; and was going to attempt a shot.
Gavin practiced that exact shot for hours, leading up to Friday’s game.
"It's basically a game of angles. I just hit it at the right spot,” explained Reupert, in regard to shooting a “bank” shot.
He didn’t make every practice shot he took; but when his opportunity came, he was certainly prepared.
Friday night came, and Gavin was in the starting lineup.
“I had butterflies in my stomach,” said Reupert.
As soon as the ball was tipped to start the game, a teammate dribbled the ball toward La Salle’s basket and passed to to Gavin Reupert.
Four years of hard work and dedication earned him this one shot.
And one shot is all it took.
Gavin made his first attempt.
“It felt like a sense of relief. I made the first try,” said Reupert.
Gavin is not defined by what some may think would hold him back.
“My parents said, ‘No.’ I was highly capable of doing much more,” explained Reupert. “Look where I am today.”
"He will go down in history. Two points and one-for-one [shooting], 100% – Nobody else has done that in the history of La Salle High School. I can guarantee that,” said Goedde.
Gavin Reupert plans to be a student manager at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati starting next year.