Middle school basketball players defend a bullied cheerleader in the most perfect way
We all remember the story of #FindDancingMan. He was bullied for dancing, the story crushed our hearts, but then amazing people came to the rescue. Now in a similar story of love and pride for good people everywhere, here’s the story of a beautiful young cheerleader with Down syndrome named Desiree Andrews.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, eighth-grader Desiree is a cheerleader for Lincoln Middle School. Desiree was cheering for her school’s boy’s basketball team at a game last year, when some kids in the stands started making fun of her. It took no time at all for the boy’s from her team to step up and defend Desiree against those bullies. How exactly did they do that? During a time out they walked off the court and went straight up to the people making fun of her.
“’One of the kids stepped up and said, ‘Don’t mess with her,’” Brandon Morris, who was the boys’ seventh-grade coach last year, told Kenosha News. “Then all of the guys got together to show her support.”
From then on, the team created a new tradition: including Desiree in the introduction of the starting lineup. In fact, the boys always make sure to give her high-fives and fist bumps after their names are called. “Everyone loves her now,” eighth-grade basketball player Miles Rodriguez told Kenosha News.
That was made especially clear this past Monday during the last home game of the season. The basketball team and the cheerleaders gathered together for a huddle, when the boys suddenly shouted, “Who’s house? D’s house!” Now, in Desiree’s honor, they’re renaming the gymnasium D’s house. They are designing a banner, pictured below, that was created by Lincoln athletic director Timothy Nieman “to appear as if the basketball is protecting the house to mirror the boys’ basketball team’s sentiments.”
Students even wore T-shirts to commemorate the event. “They have really stepped up, almost like they are big brothers to her,” Tolefree said. “It’s good to see.”
The basketball players aren’t the only supportive kids at Lincoln. “The cheerleaders and the basketball players that I’ve been working with the last two years are some of the kindest and most supportive students that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” Nieman told the school district. “The girls accepted and embraced Desiree as their own with enthusiasm and without hesitation. The boys basketball players that have been supporting her for the last two years are model students in the classroom while displaying fantastic integrity and sportsmanship on the court.”
And what does Desiree think about all of this? “It’s amazing,” she beamed to Kenosha News..
“It’s been a godsend to us,” Desiree’s father, Cliff Andrews, said. “Those boys, I tried to talk to them in person, but I couldn’t keep the tears back.”
We’re right there with you Cliff, right there with you.