One boy’s ability inspires manyBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Inspiration comes in different packages from big to small and young to old, and for one parent and coach, inspiration came in the form of a fourth-grade boy.
With not so much as a complaint, Aker strives to do his best all of the time as many kids do when they are competing, but Aker had to overcome one obstacle that would have stopped many, the use of only one good hand.
Basketball is a team sport, and as a team they took first-place this year in the third and fourth grade Boys and Girls Club league.
Coached by Craig Lian and assistant coach Tony Eason, the team narrowly missed placing in last year’s tournaments.
Lian said that he could tell at the start of this year’s league that the team was ready.
He also said the kids on the team knew it was their time as well.
“This year is going to be different,” the team said.
When it comes to Aker and his ability to play, Lian said he is incredible.
“It was amazing to watch him play, he is one of the best shooters,” Lian commented.
With his one good hand, Aker shoots and plays with the strength of two which attributed to his good handling and shooting skills.
“He has his own methods, and has learned to adapt. He hasn’t picked up some of the bad habits that other players might have who have two hands,” Lian said.
Eklund and Lian both agree that Aker is an inspiration to the other kids as well as themselves.
Lian said that four of the kids from his winning team will be playing in the spring basketball league where the rules are a little bit different allowing for more defensive playing.
“Aker is one of my two point guards,” Lian said.
Lian says that he hopes to see more kids start playing basketball at a young age so the high school will have a winning team in the years to come.
“There’s only been four times that the high school has placed in the tournaments, and I was lucky enough to have played one of those years,” he said referring to 1976 when they took fourth place.
With the friendship the kids have built and skills they have all learned, Lake Stevens has a bright future in athletics. As for Aker he is amazing.
“Todd is truly a role model for us all,” Eklund stated.