By Michael Hoffer
If you think that no good deed goes unpunished, guess again.
Last Tuesday night in Cumberland, Greely boys’ basketball coach Ken Marks gave longtime manager Patrick Thibodeau a start and Thibodeau promptly morphed into a superstar.
Against Gray-New Gloucester on the Rangers’ Senior Night, Marks wanted to honor Thibodeau, the son of his assistant Perry. Perry Thibodeau recently had a stroke, but was able to get away from the hospital to bear witness.
Patrick Thibodeau, who has Down Syndrome, was included in the pregame ceremonies, earned a start and it was clear from the get-go that all eyes were on him.
The Patriots defended him, but not too staunchly early in the contest. Thibodeau then gave everyone a thrill by burying a 3-pointer over the outstretched hands of a defender.
He would add another 3-point shot late in the contest. His six points ranked fourth on the team for the game.
Within hours, his story was being told far and wide.
An article appeared in USA Today. Then came The Today Show and Inside Edition. In a time of economic uncertainty and steroid scandal in athletics, a feel-good story was desperately needed.
Patrick Thibodeau, Ken Marks and the Greely boys’ basketball program delivered.
“My whole purpose was to get Patrick a special night,” Marks said. “I didn’t think there would be much TV coverage for our last game so I called (WCSH’s) Bill Green, a personal friend, and I contacted (The Forecaster) and I thought that would be it. All of a sudden, it flew off the handle. With Perry ill, it was a special night. Patrick hit two shots. You couldn’t have scripted it any better. It’s been a couple days worth of 100 miles per hour, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
Coincidentally, Greely’s 61-43 victory also happened to be the 300th of Marks’ career.
This good deed didn’t just go unpunished. It was rewarded.
“It means I’m old and I’ve had good players,” Marks said, of his 300th victory. “It’s been a personal goal of mine. It’s a milestone I don’t talk much about. It’s exciting.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com
Greely senior Patrick Thibodeau showed the form that would make him a national sensation as he buried the first of his two 3-pointers last Tuesday night. (Steven Sharp photo)