Local student with Down syndrome plays in volleyball game

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TROY, Texas (KWTX) Sports teams always hope for a win, but winning was not everything at a local middle school volleyball match.

The Raymond Mays Middle School 7th Grade team for Troy ISD played McGregor tonight, and there was a new player who stepped on the court.

Tonight, CiCi Ramirez’s dream came true. She got to play volleyball with the team she practices with daily and calls her best friends.

CiCi has Down syndrome, but tonight her genetic disorder did not define her.

She was just another member of the volleyball team.

“She is just a normal kid and she wants to do everything like everyone else,” Cici’s mom, Analiza Ramirez, said.

Coach Shelley Martinez said her answer was obvious when an opportunity presented itself for CiCi to play.

“The opportunity came and we had a home game, so I called CiCi’s mom because some of the girls had come up and asked if she could play with them and right then my heart goes yes! That’s what is happening, that is what needs to happen,” Martinez said.

Armed with the support of her coach, teammates and the crowd, she was ready to take to the court for her first volleyball match.

The crowd cheered as CiCi skipped up to the sideline to substitute in for another player. Her smile, excitement and pure joy was contagious throughout the gym.

“It was wonderful to see her get on the court and play her heart out because she has practiced hard and loves her sport,” Ramirez said.

"Seeing CiCi out there I had to hold back tears on the side because it just showed so much excitement,” Martinez said.

“I mean this is what you coach for this is what you teach for."

CiCi was excited with how she played.

"I hit it! I served it! I hit it hard,” she said.

But the most amazing part might have been the unconditional love shown to CiCi by her teammates.

"That is the best part because they all love her and she loves them,” said Ramirez.

“It's wonderful she has all these friends and they are taking care of her."

At the end of the game she was given a trophy that read “CiCi Ramirez MVP,” proving that with a little love, support and determination anything is possible.

"I won,” CiCi said.