Crowd hushes for a blind basketball player to hear the basket—then goes wild when she makes it

Jules Hoogland heard the basket, then made her free throw shot to cheers from the crowd.

It's a common belief that disabilities make it impossible to do certain things. Sometimes that's true—but not nearly as often as people might assume. With the right support and accommodations, people with all manner of disabilities can participate in far more activities than society expects.

Take, for instance, a team sport like basketball. Can a person who can't see play that sport? How would they know where they are on the court? How would they know where to throw the ball or locate where the basket is? How could they keep track of where their teammates are and what they're doing?

Without a little imagination in answering them, those questions seem like they'd exclude blind people from being able to play basketball. However, when inclusion is the goal, human beings can figure out all kinds of ways to make the seemingly impossible happen.


High school basketball player Jules Hoogland is completely blind. As a junior at Zeeland East High School in Michigan, Hoogland plays on Zeeland's Unified Sports team made up of students with and without disabilities.

As she set up for a free throw, the crowd fell into a hush so Hoogland could hear the tapping of the basket so she could put the ball in the right spot. A fellow player ensured she was positioned for the shot, and Hoogland nailed it.

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Not only was it a great shot, it was an awesome example of what support and inclusion can look like from both a school and a community.

Unified Sports is a program by Special Olympics that promotes inclusion in sports by bringing people with and without intellectual or physical disabilities together to play on the same team. Unified Sports teams are made up of people of similar age and skill to create a level playing field and to make practices and games both challenging and fun.

The goal is not so much for those without disabilities to "help" those with; rather, it's a way to empower everyone to have fun together through sports. Teammates work together to play their personal and collective best for the good of the team.

According to Special Olympics, about 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports. What a beautiful way for everyone to benefit from the fun and camaraderie sports can provide, and to provide a way for people of all abilities and disabilities to build bonds of friendship.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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