TOWSON, Md. — Lisa Wiederlight knows what it's like to be part of a championship team. She was a member of the 1987 Terrapins' field hockey team which brought University of Maryland its first National Championship in the sport. That season created endless memories and experiences which will last a lifetime.
Now, she wants her son, Joshua Gibson, to experience that same feeling. Joshua, who was diagnosed with autism, partnered with the Team Up For 1 Foundation — its mission: to enhance the quality of life for children and their families with developmental disabilities and/or chronic or life threatening illnesses by matching them up with teams from every competitive level.
Today, Wiederlight's vision for her son became reality.
In front of 200-plus fans in the Decker Sports & Recreation Center Arena, Joshua joined a championship team and became an official member of the Goucher men's basketball team. Consisting of 14 players and four coaches, Goucher's goal is to brighten Joshua's day one moment at a time.
"It's really nice to find a place where we belong, feel welcome and comfortable," Lisa commented. "This team has been special to us and make our year that much more memorable."
Though, it doesn't stop there. Men's head basketball coach, Tom Rose, expects the entire basketball program to take this all in and learn.
"This is a great opportunity for him to come to practice and interact with us as a team," Rose said. "The experience will build our character and will allow all of us to get better as individuals."
Joshua took to center court prior to today's 2 p.m. non-conference contest. Standing in-between Goucher's Kevin Miles and Gallaudet's Joshua McGriff, he got the honor to toss the ball up in the air for the ceremonial tip.
Alongside his mother, grandparents, Bonnie and Michael Wiederlight, and a host of family-friends, Joshua cheered on the Gophers throughout the game.
The "official" adoption ceremony took place after the game where Joshua's grandparents, his mother, and Tom Rose were awarded plaques due to their new partnership with the Team Up For 1 Foundation.
A new chapter has begun. For everyone involved, it will be filled with happiness, smiles and laughter.
To learn more about the Team Up For 1 Foundation, please visit http://teamupfor1.org/.