MacArthur (Ill.) High School's Myshaun DozierIllinois JV player competes through adversity.
Commentary: "I’m really going to take this as an opportunity to show people..."
Both make you weep. For much different reasons.
One was going to make it and didn’t. The other wasn’t and did.
Dreams are meant to be chased, achieved and sometimes…dashed.
Media – online and social – exposed those outcomes within 24 hours a week ago.
Illinois and smartphones hosted it all.
Dozier – born without arms – became an overnight digital dynamo last Friday for making his high school’s junior varsity baseball team. Rightfully so.
The MacArthur (Decatur, Ill.)
High School sophomore was born with TAR Syndrome
and lacks radial bones. Translation? His hands are attached near his shoulders. The condition affects less than one in 100,000 newborns. There are different versions.
Major League Baseball has promoted Dozier’s video and story. So has MaxPreps
and multiple national media outlets.
"We're just all amazed at how this has gone viral,” MacArthur athletic director Jason Crutcher told WAND Sports
. “You know what, the kid deserves it and I hope good things come out of this. He's going to remember this for the rest of his life and that makes you feel good.”
Yeah it does. Immensely.
Dozier enjoys being a part of the roster and defines team player. He plays second base and bats.
"He's a good kid, got a great smile with a good attitude and he hustles," MacArthur JV coach Jesse Danbury said. "He fits in like everybody else."
McKenzie stood out.
One of six athletes featured in a November Sports Illustrated
article titled “Six teens who will rule the future in sports
,” McKenzie attracted national acclaim when he caught five passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the NFL’s 8th Grade All-American Game in Canton (Ohio) last August.
The 14-year old held offers from Illinois and Missouri and had recently visited USC. Set to enroll at East St. Louis (Ill.)
High where both his parents starred as athletes, McKenzie was also an accomplished basketball player.
Last Saturday, after attending a middle school dance, McKenzie was hit by a stray bullet during a melee at a party in neighboring Venice (Ill.). He passed away shortly after being transported to a local hospital. An innocent bystander, he was one of two struck.
“He wanted to walk across the stage to accept his contract in the NFL,” McKenzie’s mother, Sukeena Gunner, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
. “He told me, ‘We’re going to make it, mama; we’re going to be good, mama.’ That was his dream.”
“I didn’t think I was going to make the team because a little shrub like me making the team and all that (doesn’t happen),” Dozier told WAND. “It was one of the greatest moments in my life.
“I’m really going to take this as an opportunity to show people that not only me, but people like me can do something like this.”
Tears for two different reasons.