Special Olympic team plays for first time since losing teammate

Posted By: Kelsey Murphy


"This one is for Josh"

Receiving a medal in his son’s name is Josh Hartwig’s father.

He’s the coach of Nebraska Storm, the Special Olympic team Josh played for before he was shot and killed in January of 2016.

On Sunday, his teammates put on their jerseys, and stepped out on the field for the first time without him.

"He was here with me today, but it was real hard for me to play, because he is not here with me," Jordan McRoy, teammate, said.

No matter how well they knew the plays and no matter the score, this team felt as if they were one short.

"He is usually on the field with me just getting me going and pumping me up and now he is not here," McRoy, said.

He was not physically there, but Josh was with each of them in spirit, their 6th man in a 5 player flag football league.

"He had become the 6th person on the field that is out there helping these guys and he is in everybody’s hearts," Doug Hartwig, Josh’s father, said.

Josh’s presence was felt by more than his teammates. His dad, Doug says he had a co–coach that day.

He shared a memory of the last conversation he and Josh ever had.

Josh told his dad that, one day, he hoped to move from the field to the sideline and stand next to him as assistant coach.

"He paused and said, well I made up my mind dad, I want to play three more years and then I want to coach with you. That’s what keeps me going, I lost a son but I gained a whole team of players, these are all my kids," Hartwig, said.

The fight on the field was not an easy battle.

The Storm Chasers gave it everything thing they had, but despite the final score, there is one thing his teammates want Josh to remember.

"We got gold"

Gold won in honor of Josh.