Some kids don’t have a chance…

The Story of dave

DAVE is the hope inspired story of an unlikely mentor who uses basketball to shepherd an intellectually disabled minority teen and in turn is led himself into beginning to heal the broken pieces in his own life.

A mentor-driven true story, DAVE is about seeing the real value in each individual and sacrificing to connect and develop the potential in others.

Dave Sterling—an intellectually disabled, 6 ft. 6 inch/350 lb. African American kid—fatherless, in poverty, in racially charged southern Missouri who was falling through the cracks as a sophomore in high school …

…connects with a 23 year old white volunteer coach (Adam); a former undersized walk-on point guard at Boise State who overcame extreme odds himself just to graduate high school, get into college and to make the team;  becoming team captain his senior year. Growing up in and around San Diego, Adam was essentially an orphan falling through the cracks and used basketball as a way to rise above his dire circumstances and ultimately transcend his environment; finding success both on and off the court.

Adam had turned down an opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of coaching basketball at the Division 1, college level to serve as a volunteer to at-risk kids in poverty-stricken Hollister, Missouri. In his second day on the high school campus he couldn’t help but notice Dave. Amazingly, Adam saw a lot of himself in Dave and set out to connect with “Big Dave from Special Services” as he was sadly known around his small school campus.

Against the strong opposition of the head coach and most of the players in Hollister, Adam reaches out to Dave – one of only two African-American students in the entire school – and pleads with him to come out for the team.  After bribing him with some new Reeboks (his first pair of basketball shoes) Dave finally tries out for the team.  Although he could barely make it up and down the court or do any drills for the first several weeks he ends up blossoming on and off the court under the coaching and fatherly love of Adam over three years.

Every year Adam continued to turn down college coaching opportunities to stay with Dave.

Dave has far and away exceeded everyone’s expectations of him. NOBODY, including his Mother and Grandmother who he lives with, ever thought that Dave would become a starting Varsity player, move from special services into some ‘regular’ classes, make the honor roll and be named the ‘student of the month’… take the ACT college entrance examination and apply to college, get his driver’s license, go to prom; … and especially GRADUATE from high school.

As Dave began experiencing these wonderful things and as graduation was nearing, he began sharing with Adam that he wished his father could see all he was doing and becoming and that all he really wanted for graduation was for his Dad to be there to watch him walk across the stage and get his diploma.  Dave’s Dad, Amos Sterling, had abandoned his family back in Mississippi over a decade ago and there had been very little contact. Recognizing how much this meant to Dave, Adam drives over 10 hours to Jackson to meet the man that walked out on Dave and his mother and to impress upon him how much Dave still loved him and how badly he wanted him at graduation.

Suspense builds as to whether Amos will show or not. He does, and an amazingly powerful reunion takes place.

Seeing how much it meant to Dave to reconnect with his Dad, Adam realized it was important for him as well and through the inspiration that Dave provided him, he embarks upon his own journey of reconcilliation.

The film goes beyond documenting the impact that Adam’s mentoring had in Dave’s life.  That is, Dave’s special ability to touch the lives of everyone around him, particularly Adam’s, is at the heart of this beautiful story.

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