CHERRY HILL, NJ - After making her debut in a varsity basketball game last week, Kate Spadaro, a senior with special needs at Camden Catholic High School , was honored by the Harlem Globetrotters.
Kate has Down Syndrome, but that hasn’t stopped her from managing, and inspiring, her team for four years now.
At last week’s senior night, it was her shot and the cheers that rang through the rafters that players there will never forget.
Kate’s father, Jerry Spadaro, explained, “You know, they announced her in the starting lineup. She started the game. She scored the first basket of the game, and those are memories there that she will never forget that…that I’ll never forget. I mean they’ll last a lifetime.”
Kate’s father said his daughter has watched her siblings play, from the stands, her whole life. But Jerry says getting into a game and scoring herself was a dream come true.
“I’ve been dreaming about that since I was a little girl and I’ve been watching my whole life. So just to be out here on the court, which I call my home, is really awesome. It’s incredible,” said Kate.
The Camden Catholic Girls Basketball coach, Chris Palladino, said, “When she’s not there, we miss her. She wasn’t there the other day, she was sick; and she was texting me and emailing me asking, ‘What did i miss?’ I have her in class as well and she is a very good student. She’s national honor society and she’s very organized and she’s very committed with whatever cause it is. I’m just glad it’s the girls basketball team.”
Because of Kate’s dedication to her team, and her teammates compassion towards their manager, the girls were recognized by the Harlem Globetrotters Thursday afternoon.
Harlem Globetrotter, Zeus McClurkin, said, “Kate is an amazing young lady. You can tell her spirit just by the way that the kids are treating her. They all love her.”
Kate’s father told me his wife, Robin, passed away 2 years ago from a rare form of cancer, but that she was Kate’s biggest fan. “I can tell you, knowing my wife, she is orchestrating the whole thing and she was smiling from ear to ear saying, ‘I told you if you give Kathleen a chance, she would succeed.’“
But Kate says, she still thinks her mom is watching her play from above…very high above the rim.
The Globetrotters extended complimentary tickets for the Camden Catholic girls basketball players to see the world famous team live when they play two games at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, March 4.
The Globetrotters will play the following games in the Philadelphia area as part of their “Amazing Feats of Basketball World Tour”:
Friday, Feb. 23 at 7pm – Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, DE
Friday, March 2 at 7pm – Liacouras Center at Temple
Saturday, March 3 at 2pm & 7pm – Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton
Sunday, March 4 at 12pm & 5pm – Wells Fargo Center
Tickets and more info are available at www.harlemglobetrotters.com.