Kaylee McBeth has dealt with great loss in her life. Her eighth grade year was especially tough. She lost her father to a previously undetected heart ailment. Kaylee also dealt with her own health issues as doctors discovered she had an inoperable tumor growing within her heart. She dreamed of playing high school basketball for Faith Christian Academy in Arvada, Colo., but her condition was too risky to allow her to participate. Faith Christian coach Rick Long was with McBeth in the hospital when she received the grim news. Coach Long immediately offered her the job of team manager, which she gladly accepted.
For four years, Kaylee taped ankles, filled water bottles, operated the practice clock and shot game video. She served her teammates without question or complaint. This past February, in the midst of her senior year, Kaylee’s teammates asked if she could play a few minutes in the final home game of the regular season. Doctors gave the green light. So when Coach Long started all of the team’s seniors, Kaylee was in the lineup. She played the first few minutes and then the regular players took over. But late in the game, something special happened. With the contest against Colorado Academy well in-hand, Coach Long put Kaylee back in the game in hopes she might score the first points of her high school career. Kaylee’s teammates tried desperately to set her up for prime shots, but nothing would fall. As the clock dwindled down to just over a minute, Colorado Academy coach Lee Gibson called a timeout. He sensed what Faith Christian was trying to do for Kaylee and instructed his team to foul her. Coach Gibson wanted to give Kaylee an opportunity from the free throw line. She was fouled with 56 seconds to go. Kaylee stepped to the line and knocked down her first shot. The crowd erupted with cheers. The first two people who congratulated her were Colorado Academy players.
A made basket for Kaylee was literally a dream come true. Coach Gibson and his players realized the basket meant more than a point on the stat sheet. They understood that some situations are bigger than the scoreboard and some moments transcend the game.