Norman High School Senior Is Overnight Internet Sensation
NORMAN, Oklahoma - A local high school student is the latest viral sensation, with a video that is now being shared nationwide.
The star of the Friday night match-up between Norman and Norman North was not part of the starting line-up, but everyone is remembering Lainy Fredrickson's name.
It all started when middle school teacher Michael Vanderburg hit the record button to capture the moment special needs student Lainy scored the final basket of the game. “LAINY! LAINY! LAINY!” the crowd cheered.
With one minute to go on Senior Night, for the first time this season, Lainy checked into the game. A rookie for the Lady Tigers, Lainy is actually a Special Olympics veteran, so she went straight to the hoop. The ball did not go in the first time, but when it did the crowd went wild.
“I love everybody being there, and I just love it,” said Lainy.
The video was an overnight sensation, shared thousands of times and shocking everyone but Lainy, who is well aware of her stardom.
“Because I’m famous,” she said matter-of-factly.
Her parents Mona and Jake and brother Levi said the Norman High School family has always rallied for Lainy’s success.
"When Coach (Michael) Neal approached us about Lainy being on the team, that in itself was an honor. The girls love her. She loves basketball, and it’s been a wonderful experience,” Mona Fredrickson said.
A brain tumor during infancy left Lainy with lasting developmental challenges and Prater-Willi Syndrome, which affects her appetite, but through it all, she continues to smile and dance.
Less than 24 hours after the game, Lainy and her family got a special invite from the Harlem Globetrotters, who played Saturday at the Chesapeake Arena. The Fredricksons were escorted behind-the-scenes to meet and greet the players, who were impressed by Lainy’s abilities.
The Fredricksons were then honored with court-side seats to watch the Globetrotters play.
Lainy said she hopes to be an inspiration to others who do not believe they can reach their goals, as she prepares to compete in May in the state Special Olympics.