A high school student kills a classmate. Another sets himself on fire. Still another murders his mother.
Those things happened in Denver’s suburbs in a recent six-week span.
Across the country, media reports tell far and wide of teenagers doing something horribly wrong.
But there are inspirational stories, too, stories of teen achievement, of overcoming obstacles. Typically, though, they don’t generate much media buzz outside of the immediate community.
Recently, one did.
Bailey Roby is an 18-year-old varsity basketball player for Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch. In late January, he found himself at the center of controversy because he runs the court on two prosthetic legs.
The Colorado High School Activities Association made a mid-season ruling that Roby’s appearances in games compromised his and other players’ safety. For several days, it looked like the fan favorite’s playing career was over. Still, he was poised to be there for his teammates.
“Now, I just gotta sit on the bench and support (the team),” Roby said after the Jan. 24 game that, at the time, looked to be his last. “The most important thing is being a part of the team.”
We were the first media outlet to report on Roby’s plight, but far from the last. The story was covered by most of Denver’s print and digital media but also was picked up by, among many others, “Good Morning America” and the British newspaper the Daily Mail. Facebook and Twitter were abuzz as social media campaigns ignited by Mountain Vista students and community members pushed to get Roby back in the game.
And that’s what happened. Upon further review, CHSAA decided Roby could play as long as both teams agreed to it.
The idea that Roby represented a safety risk confounded many.
“I don’t think Bailey is a hazard to anyone on the floor and certainly not to himself,” said Roby’s father, Scott. “He’s been in hundreds of practices and he played junior varsity last year. If he falls down, he gets back up.”
Roby’s statistics certainly won’t draw all-state attention — he averages 1.4 points per game, with a season-high of 3, generally seeing action when the powerhouse Golden Eagles have a victory wrapped up. The state playoffs tip off in a couple of weeks and it’s likely Roby’s on-court role will become even smaller.
But he’ll be there if the team needs him. Just like his classmates and the community were there when he needed them.
Teamwork. Overcoming obstacles. Getting up when you get knocked down.
Teenagers learning life lessons.
There’s plenty of good news out there.