In this season of giving where most are on their best behavior, you may see people perform acts of great kindness while caught up in the holiday spirit. However for some people, like Cesar Romero, caring and thoughtful deeds are simply part of their everyday behavior. Last spring, the Plouffe Academy Unified® Volleyball team was thrilled to be part of the State Tournament and felt fortunate to have more than enough interested and dedicated players. The Plouffe Academy team, part of the Brockton School Department was excited to see how their 7th grade players would perform at the elite competition and carrying 13 eligible players, one more than the roster limit, they grappled with the issue of who they would select to leave behind. All the kids had been very dedicated in their training and pursuit of a championship and were looking forward to a great time with their competition, the West Middle School Wolverines team.
Heading to the State Tournament, the Plouffe Academy Unified® Volleyball team, a team which combines individuals with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team as equal teammates, looked forward to a weekend of competition and camaraderie with the Wolverines. As the competition grew nearer, West struggled to meet the required number of athletes needed for the competition. Plouffe Academy coach Jim Hatch thought of a solution to the dilemma and rallied additional coaches Sally Morrill and Jim Dinitto to discuss asking one of their own players to play for the West team. If a Plouffe player would acquiesce to this idea it would allow all players on both teams to participate; but the coaches knew they needed to ask a talented and selfless player to play on the West team. They player they chose to ask was Cesar Romero.
The coaches decided Cesar was polite, outgoing and dedicated to accomplishing his goals. Although Cesar was hesitant at first, he soon agreed. During the competition, Cesar played for the Wolverines acting as a friendly and valuable member of their team, he also became a bridge between the two teams who enabled all players to experience a weekend they will remember for the rest of their lives. When the Plouffe team was eliminated from gold medal contention, Cesar served as a key player in helping the West Wolverines achieve their gold medal. Players from both teams were happy and all coaches were very proud of Cesar for his sacrifice, cooperation and incredible sportsmanship. The Brockton Program was grateful to Cesar and nominated the 7th grader for the Liberty Mutual, “Most Responsible Sports Moment” contest which recognizes 10 extraordinary sportsmen out of over 100 nominations. A judging panel for Liberty Mutual comprised of representatives from Responsible Sports partner organizations selected Cesar as one of their top 10 winners and awarded Plouffe Academy $1,000 to support the development and needs of youth sports due to Cesar’s valiant efforts.
Cesar is a shining example of the Special Olympics’ mission and simply a great sport. This holiday season let his passion and spirit inspire you. Click below to support program like these.