When the freshmen women’s basketball team from Kennedy went to Linn-Mar on Monday, Dec. 8, one of the girls suiting up for the Lions was Sydney Von Lehmden. Von Lehmden is one of many people who has down syndrome, but she hasn’t let it keep her from playing basketball.
At the game on Monday, one of the players on Kennedy’s team gave her an opportunity to demonstrate her skill (as seen in the video above, provided by her father), by letting her get the ball back and take a shot.
“The beauty of what happened is that the Kennedy player gave Sydney the opportunity to show her abilities by giving her the ball and not aggressively guarding her,” said Kelly Von Lehmden, her mother.
Mrs. Von Lehmden was very impressed by what the Kennedy girls did, and made that fact very well known. She posted about it on Facebook, and said in part, “This is about individuals with disabilities and all who feel like they don’t belong and want to be accepted, included and recognized for their abilities and being embraced for who they are. This is about what part we all can play in recognizing and encouraging people and showing kindness.”
Of course, this was especially surprising since the act of kindness came from the a player on the opposing team.
“It surprised us because the Kennedy player didn’t know Sydney (and she was the opponent) but reached out with kindness to give someone with special needs a chance to shine. Some girls wouldn’t have even noticed that Sydney or others had special needs, and if they did they wouldn’t have been brave enough to do what she did,” Mrs. Von Lehmden said.