Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Hannah Foy, king size joy in a pint size ball player

By Michael Alexander, Staff Photographer | Published March 7, 2014

I’ve never had a portrait session with current National Basketball Association (NBA) phenoms like the Miami Heat’s Lebron James, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant or Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) superstar Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx.

Last Sunday, however, I did have a session with a first-year player in the Cougar Athletic Association (CAA). The player has never had a triple-double or a career high game in assists or scoring. In ten years from now will this player be able to catch an ‘alley-oop’ out of mid air and slam it home with authority or blow by a player in a one-on-one situation with a cross-over dribble and lay it in off the glass? I doubt it.

Six-year-old Hannah Foy, who has Down Syndrome, participated in St. Joseph School’s Little Cougars developmental and instructional co-ed basketball program during the 2013-14 season. Photo By Michael Alexander

At 3 feet, 6 inches tall and born with Down Syndrome, Hannah Foy gives us more than basketball highlights or Sports Center Top 10s. Hannah shares life lessons with her peers and adults about love, compassion and perseverance.

For a short period of time I had the opportunity to be a part of Hannah’s world when I photographed her for Nichole Golden’s feature story on Hannah in the March 6 issue of The Georgia Bulletin. The little things we take for granted are not always easy for people with physical disabilities, but Hannah was courageous and cooperative when I asked her to do certain things during the photo session. My favorite photograph of Hannah is the one that appears at the top of this blog post. She’s not even holding the basketball, but the hands are in motion and her smile is radiant. You see, Hannah couldn’t verbally communicate with me, so her smile and any sign language she displayed, was her way of conveying emotion. At the end of the session she thanked me in American Sign Language.

I thought it was interesting that the Gospel for March 2, Matthew 6:24-34, was the same day as our photo session. The Gospel addresses how we become concerned and fret over material things in our lives that are really insignificant to the overall big picture – aspiring to the kingdom of God. Verse 34 of that Gospel says, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” Like little six-year-olds comfortable in their own skin, Hannah reminds all of us that God has got our back whatever situation we find ourselves in.

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