Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

February 13, 2014

Michael Briggs, 16-year-old with Down's syndrome, inspires while playing the sports he loves for Andover High

Briggs inspires on, off court as member of JV hoops team

(Continued)

A Warrior’s beginning

Early in Michael’s childhood, his parents placed a strong importance on integrating their middle son into the Andover community, where the family has lived since 1986.

They found a perfect match for Michael in Andover’s Hooptown basketball camp, run by Golden Warriors varsity coach David Fazio.

“We have always pushed for Michael to be in the mainstream because that is the world he will have to live in when he gets older,” said Kim Briggs, a speech language pathologist at The Professional Center for Child Development in Andover. “We felt like Hooptown would be a perfect testing ground. Michael loved basketball, why not start with Hooptown?”

Any early concerns David and Kim Briggs had about how their son would be welcomed into the Andover basketball community were allayed when Michael arrived at the basketball school.

“The kids were just unbelievable to Michael,” his father said. “You never know how anyone is going to act. You never know how the kids or the program are going to react. But they accepted Michael as a member of the family.

“Our only regret is that we didn’t take him to Hooptown earlier. But we are glad we did because of all the joy that it has brought to not just our family, but the entire basketball community.”

Becoming a Golden Warrior

Now a fixture at Hooptown — first alongside older brother Christopher, now 19, and eventually with younger brother Jonathan, 10 — Michael had a new dream when he arrived at Andover High as a freshman last year.

He wanted to play basketball for the Golden Warriors.

After some initial questions about whether there would be a spot for Michael, his father decided to be proactive. They went directly to Fazio, who had no reservations about making him part of the program.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • AT RUSSELL2

    Courtesy photo Jenn Russell races upfield for the U.S. National women's lacrosse team. She hopes to be with the team for the next World Cup in 2017.

    Lacrosse star Russell leads defense for U.S. National team, sets sights on 2017 World Cup Posted 5 days ago 4 Photos
  • AT KUCHAR

    FILE PHOTO Chris Kuchar will become the fourth Andover High hockey coach in 3 1/2 years.

    Andover High names new hockey coach Posted 5 days ago 1 Photo
  • 140711_ET_CRU_BASEBALL_2

    CARL RUSSO/Staff photo Andrew Kombourasn draws high-fives and head pats from his teammates after scoring Andover Americans' first run in the opening game of the District 14 12-year-old championship. series against North Andover last Friday night.

    Summer classic: Andover Americans, Nationals make run for Districts Posted 5 days ago 11 Photos
  • Calabro swinging hot bat, Legion keeps rolling Posted 5 days ago
  • at round photo

    Andover Legion's Scott Leslie slides safely into home plate in a win over North Andover. Leslie is a big reason why Post 8 has been on fire this summer.

    Gillette, Selima stay red hot for Legion team Posted 12 days ago 1 Photo
  • at little league photo

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Alex Lane delivers a pitch for Andover National Little League during District 14 pool play. Both Andover National and Andover American scored huge wins last week.

    Prakash, McConnell use long ball to lead Andover American Posted 12 days ago 1 Photo
  • AT BIRD MUG

    COURTESY PHOTO Tyler Bird, who played his high school senior year at Kimball Union in New Hampshire, will likely play three or four years for Brown University in Rhode Island before making the leap to pro hockey.

    Bird lands the NHL draft Posted 12 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT BRIAN BURNS

    COURTESY PHOTO Lawrence Academy second baseman Brian Burns of Andover received Honorable Mention from the Independent School League this spring.

    Community Scoreboard Posted 12 days ago 1 Photo
  • AT BLUE JAYS2

    COURTESY PHOTO The Blue Jays pose with their coaches and team manager at the end of their undefeated season in the Andover Little League 9-year-old Division.

    Unbeaten Blue Jays win 9-year-old Division crown Posted 12 days ago 2 Photos
  • AT BREWERS1

    COURTESY PHOTO The Andover Little League Majors Division champion Brewers team included, front row, from left, Jacob Pepi, Evan Giggey, Matthew Shea, Aidan Ritter and Quinn Curtin; second row, from left, Aneudy Moreno, Sean Sullivan, Ryan Grecco, Jason Denoncourt, Ben Weeden and Michael Leone; and third row, from left, coaches Larry Shea, Jesse Ritter and Patrick Grecco.

    Brewers battle to 2014 Majors championship Posted 12 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week
Stocks