Chapter 21 GENEROUS DOCTOR MACKEY
They were regular basketball scouts,” Marney said at dinner.
“What do you mean ‘regular’ scouts?” Fred asked.
“They don’t have wheelchair basketball at those schools,” Marney answered.
All of us looked at Marney. “They were all scouts from regular basketball teams? Like with legs?” I asked.
“Yeah, Sam, you should know. You invited them.” Marney said.
“But, you read the letters. They said they weren’t coming. And they came anyway! Do you know what this means?”
“Does it matter? I’m not going. How could I?” Marney said.
“They came, didn’t they?” Fred asked. “Knowing full well they were looking at a disabled player and they came anyway.”
“What do they want from me?” Marney asked confused.
“Maybe these teams are going to add wheelchair basketball to their departments, Sport. Ever thought of that?” Fred asked.
“Yeah, maybe,” Marney said.
The doorbell rang. Jane went to get it and when she came back inside with an unexpected guest, Marney was even more surprised.
“Doctor Mackey?” Marney asked, “What are you doing here?”
Doctor Mackey held up the paper. “I read this and I went to your game. You’re an incredible player Marney, a thrill to watch.”
“I know there’s a ‘but,’ in there somewhere,” Marney said.
“But, you could be better. You could be playing like you were playing before.”
Jane interrupted Dr. Mackey, “Doctor Mackey, I thought we talked about this on the phone last week, we’re opting to send Marney to a college fit for the handicapped rather than paying for the surgery.”
Doctor Mackey smiled, “Mrs. Ferguson, I came to a decision when I read this article. I decided I would go to Marney’s game and see for myself, the girl who lives and breathes wheelchair basketball, the girl who chose to play that game disabled because she has to. When I saw her play, I decided she doesn’t have to choose one over the other. Because I will fund her therapy and surgery out of my own pocket. And if I don’t cure her, she can do whatever she wants, but if I do cure her, and I think I will, then she can play for any team in the nation. Anywhere she wants to go. That’s why I invited the scouts.”
“You invited them?” Fred and Jane asked simultaneously.
“The regular legged scouts?” I asked. “But, I thought it was me.”
Doctor Mackey nodded his head. “I know about your letters, Young Lady. You made an impressive case, but until I approached them they didn’t see any reason to come. I gave them that reason.”
Marney had tears in her eyes and no words to speak. Fred and Jane were speechless too. But everyone watched Marney. Because it still was her choice. She could have it all-again.
Suddenly my earlier fears of Marney leaving me kicked in. Shut up fears! I really started to feel selfish and hurt and I wanted Marney to say no. But, what was I doing? What was I thinking? This is what I wanted, I wanted her to get better. Marney has always been there for me. I will be there for her no matter what. If she wants to move out of state, I will be sad and cry, but not in front of her. No way. She has to be able to do what’s best for herself without her little sister getting in the way. It was time she knew that too.
“Marney?” I put my hand on her hand. “Do it. I mean, do whatever you want.”
Doctor Mackey looked at me and then back to Marney, “It’s going to be intense. You have to really want it.”
She looked right at me and suddenly came to life. She grabbed me to her and hugged me tight. She looked at Doctor Mackey and said, “I do want it. I want to walk again.”