GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – West Catholic High School gave their team manager a spot on the team, a jersey, and the best four minutes of his entire life.
Friends and family tell us, Bryce Sprank has a heart of gold, a passion for sports, and one heck of a jump shot. Sprank has autism and that’s not holding him back from being the fun-loving, heart of his team at West Catholic High School. His mom, Angie said Bryce has always been drawn to sports.
“He said to me, ‘I think I’m going to try out for basketball,’” said Angie. “I was a little bit nervous but he said, ‘if I don’t try out, I’ll regret it.’"
Tryouts came and went, and Bryce didn’t make the team. He became team manager instead.
“I’d tell them to play with their hearts and do good,” said Sprank.
It was the beginning of a band of brothers according to teammates and coaches, Sprank becoming the heart and soul of the team.
“From there it’s just kind of been a spiral of emotions," said Angie. "Just all the love, attention, and support from Parents and West Catholic and his team mates, it’s been an amazing experience."
Eight games into the season, the team and coaches decided it was time for Bryce to shine; giving Bryce his first high school basketball jersey, number 32. Bryce Sprank was called onto the court in the remaining four minutes against Belding High School, the crowd exploded into celebration.
“It was scary at first,” said Sprank.
Scary, until Bryce drained his first 3-pointer in his very first game. The moment was captured on video, sharing a powerful message and the true meaning of teamwork.
“For those kids accepting him, it has changed their view of somebody who has different challenges,” said Angie. “So that will be a ripple effect.”