Alyna Macias is like any other girl. She laces up her shoes and practices hard, hoping for a chance to get off the bench to help her team win. The only recognizable difference? Macias has Down Syndrome but she was busy earning playing time just like her teammates. Macias got her chance Friday night in the final game of the year with the junior varsity from Flowing Wells making a visit.
Macias has a difficult time deciding which of her teammates is her favorite because she likes them all and, judging from the large crowd of varsity players watching from the stands, I bet they like her too. Heck, I like her and I’ve only met her twice.
Macias entered the game in the third quarter with the score tied 5-5. It was a battle, but each team agreed beforehand to give her a chance no matter what the score might be.
“It was crazy and something you don’t see from a lot of schools,” her father Edgar said. “We couldn’t have done this without Tucson and Flowing Wells.”
Showing a lot of class and sportsmanship, the girls from Flowing Wells shifted their focus from winning the game to winning the moment and it turned out to be a moment they may never forget.
Macias missed one shot and then another but she found net on her third try and the crowd went crazy. Teammates and opponents jumped for joy, as did Macias, but she wasn’t finished. Macias scored again to put Tucson up 9-5 and she returned to the bench with high fives all around.
“I like to shoot hoops,” Macias told me after the game. “I had fun tonight.”
And so did I.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com