MAYPEARL – "Oh oh! Three pointer!"
This was gleefully yelled by the man known as Mr. Maypearl on Wednesday night. Rarely is he still. Rarer, still, is he quiet. And neither ever happens at halftime.
But Monday night, for the first time since 1993, when the clock ticked down to :00 and the buzzer sounded, Clint Holley sat on the bench. He swayed to the music. But he didn't shoot. And he didn't cheer.
Clint is a mentally challenged 33-year-old Maypearl native. He cheers on every Maypearl High School Panther team, no matter the sport.
"I'm always at the Maypearl football games and basketball games, baseball, track, you name it," he said. "I do it because I love these kids and I support these kids."
For the last 19 years, during halftime at basketball games, Holley would go to center court and start shooting half court shots. He would play to the crowd, and, in turn, the crowd would cheer him on.
He wouldn't just shoot at home games, either. He'd take his show on the road. "I've shot all over the Dallas Fort Worth area, too," he said.
But this year, District 10 AA rules changed. Clint can no longer ride school buses to sporting events, which he says he understands. But a new rule was added about halftime shows. Only uniformed players can be on the court. The change was made after someone complained.
Clint admitted he was disappointed. But his strong faith pulled him through. "I was just a little bit," he said. "But I knew God would work it out."
Maypearl ISD Superintendent Ronnie Neal explained, "as we've just progressed and there are newer people around, the rules said there couldn't be anybody on the court."
"But there was no way we were ever not going to have Mr. Maypearl at the basketball games," she said.
So Clint's show was moved to post game. And the first post-game performance was worth the wait. Clint sunk not just one, but two shots from half court. The crowd erupted. Even fans from visiting Venus stuck around to watch.
"He's not just known in Maypearl, every community knows who Clint Holley is, that he's 'Mr. Maypearl,'" said Neal.
Clint smiled. "That's what I love about small towns," he said, smiling. "God's got me here for a reason."
"They're just like a family to me," he said.
Perhaps Mr. Maypearl doesn't know it, but he's family to them, too.