Share “Coach Jerry gives children with Down...”

Coach Jerry gives children with Down Syndrome a basketball camp of their own

Good vibes abounded during the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma’s inaugural basketball camp. It is only for kids born with the genetic condition. And it is every bit as special as you might imagine. The same can be said of Coach Jerry.
by Jenni Carlson Published: July 25, 2014


photo - Coach Jerrame Dockery works with kids participating in a Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma basketball camp at Chesapeake Energy's fitness center in Oklahoma City, Friday July  25 , 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman
Coach Jerrame Dockery works with kids participating in a Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma basketball camp at Chesapeake Energy's fitness center in Oklahoma City, Friday July 25 , 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

Jerrame Dockery blew his whistle signaling the end of the dribbling drill, and the basketballs stopped thumping against the hardwood.

Except for the one in the hands of the girl with the blue shorts.

“Stop,” Dockery said.

He blew his whistle again.

“Stop,” he said again.

When she finally did, there was no dirty look, no reprimand. In fact, the man known as Coach Jerry smiled.

Good vibes abounded during the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma’s inaugural basketball camp. It is only for kids born with the genetic condition. It is a chance for them to run and play and learn and be like other kids.

And it is every bit as special as you might imagine.

The same can be said of Coach Jerry.

He is a junior high basketball coach who could be enjoying the final weeks of summer break. He is a young coach who could be finding the next rung to climb. But Saturday, in a fitness center gym on the Chesapeake Energy campus that requires a sherpa guide to find, he will be trying to teach 13 kiddos with Down syndrome the proper technique for throwing a chest pass.

Coach Jerry wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I had kids hugging me every morning, just excited to be there,” he said.

The kids aren’t the only ones who are excited.

Coach Jerry played football, basketball and baseball at Norman North, graduating in 2006, but basketball was always his passion. He planned to play at Rose State until the junior college dropped its program.

That didn’t deter him.

He grew up in a single-parent home, the youngest of three kids. Not having a father in your life can have lots of consequences, but in Coach Jerry’s case, it motivated him to try to fill that role-model void for others. Be an encourager. Be a nurturer. Be the father figure he never had.

And then when he played for Jeff Blough at Norman North, he felt like he was being called to do those things as a coach.

“He pushed me to be a better person,” Coach Jerry said of Blough. “Just seeing ... how much love he has for the game and how much he taught me, I thought I could at least give it back in that same way.”

So when Moore High School called three years ago with a chance to be a basketball assistant, Coach Jerry jumped at the chance.

Then two years ago, the district had a teacher’s assistant position open at Wayland Bonds Elementary. The job consisted of monitoring and assisting special needs students. He had never worked with special needs kids, but he wanted to stay in the district and this seemed a good way to put down roots.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
+ show more


Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma

For more information about the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma, including details about the DSACO Festival & 5K on Sept. 20, go to www.dsaco.org.

Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Top Scientology Leaders Caught In Videotaped Verbal Assault At LAX
  2. 2
    Dallas Cowboys waive Michael Sam from practice squad
  3. 3
    Led Zeppelin sees 'Stairway to Heaven' lawsuit move forward
  4. 4
    A Photo Of A Woman In A Homemade Hazmat Suit At The Airport Has Gone Viral
  5. 5
    A 16-Year-Old Girl With A Heart Condition Collapsed And Died While Inside A Haunted House
+ show more