By TARA KELLER, Sentinel Staff Writer
It’s the fourth quarter with three minutes left and Mikey Marovich hears the phrase he’s been waiting for – “you’re in the game.”
Marovich adjusts his glasses and home team jersey, and heads onto the court.
After two years of being the Bowling Green eighth grade boys’ basketball team manager, Marovich is getting to play.
“At first, I was kind of nervous,” Marovich, 14, said. “I thought, ‘how am I going to do?’”
His question is quickly answered.
Marovich misses his first shot against the Perrysburg team, but he doesn’t let that stop him. He’s got a little bit of help from the sidelines.
The packed gym is chanting “let’s go Mikey, let’s go Mikey.”
That’s all it takes. Bowling Green regains possession, the ball is passed to Marovich, and he does what he said he’s waited 14 years for.
He makes the shot.
“The crowd went crazy,” Marovich said. “It was a moment to remember.”
That moment continued after the buzzer. The crowd rushed the court and lifted Marovich onto their shoulders.
“Even the Perrysburg players came and shook my hand,” Marovich said. “I never expected this, but a few wanted my autograph.”
After signing autographs and watching the high school teams play with his friends, Marovich went home to tell his dad all about the game of a lifetime.
“I can’t believe this happened to my son,” said Mike Marovich of the Jan. 17 game. “It makes a proud daddy even prouder.”
Mike Marovich thanks the Bowling Green community for the support they showed Mikey Marovich, who “knows he learns a little differently than the other students.”
“I can’t stop personally singing the praises of the Bowling Green coaching staff – what they did took a lot of forethought,” Mike Marovich said. “And with the Perrysburg team, they showed integrity and class. It’s refreshing to see.”
For Kyle Hackenburg, Mikey Marovich’s coach from last year, the most refreshing player is Marovich himself.
“He hasn’t been blessed with the same earthly talents and gifts as the others have, but when it comes to passion, Mikey exceeds his peers,” Hackenburg said. “He has the factors and qualities about him that people just like him. He’s something special.”
This time in the spotlight is nothing new to Mikey Marovich. He has been on TV before and that’s how his adoptive parents found him.
When Mikey Marovich was 2 1/2, he was featured on Chrys Peterson’s show “Home For Keeps.”
After seeing that segment, Mike Tarla Marovich knew they had found their son. Nine months later, he was officially theirs.
“Mikey’s been a blessing,” Mike Marovich said. “We always tried to raise our children to have faith in themselves and faith in the Lord.”
Mikey Marovich is joined by siblings Brianna, 11, Cece, 8, and Christopher, 7.
When he’s not at home with his siblings and animals, Mikey Marovich is practicing with his teammates and giving pre-game pep talks.
“I’ll sit somewhere and think about how to help the team,” Mikey Marovich said. “I keep an eye on them.”
Hackenburg and the eighth grade players are happy to be looked after by their manager.
“He’s very positive and motivates the team,” Hackenburg said. “He sets the bar high and is an example.”
Getting to play in a real basketball game, making a shot, being lifted onto his fellow players’ shoulders and now sharing his “fame” with the rest of his school, is something Mikey Marovich didn’t know would happen when he heard the words “you’re in.”
He’s awfully glad it happened, though.
“It’s good to know I’m loved and liked even though I’m different and do different things,” Mikey Marovich said. “It’s actually pretty cool.”
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