Gary Raupers Sr. had been to every one of his son's basketball games, until Tuesday night. Before the Elmira Notre Dame JV Boys Basketball game this week, Raupers Sr. collapsed in the hallway outside the gym.
"One of the bridges was closed, and we thought it was because of an accident because we saw an ambulance go over the bridge, turns out that was the ambulance going to pick up my dad," said Raupers Jr.
His son, Gary Raupers Jr., the star point guard of the Crusaders, was stuck in traffic in Downtown Elmira on his way to the game. The senior didn't make it in time.
"We couldn't find anywhere to go. all the lights were red, it seemed like every time we got to a light it was red. cars backed up for hundreds of feet, and there's nothing you could do, I felt totally helpless, I couldn't get to my dad. I mean there were people here who saved him for me." said Raupers Jr.
Just like on the court, one of the senior's teammates was there to back him up. Forward Cullen McWhorter and JV Coach Max Young leapt into action.
"I started performing CPR, and Cullen was able to go and get the AED, and I mean cross country and track came in handy," said Young about McWhorter.
Along with being an athlete, McWhorter is a volunteer firefighter for the East Hill Fire Department. In the heat of the moment, the senior took control.
"They say its nothing like the dummies, and it isn't, but even when you get that training, that little bit, it just kicks in and you know what to do," recalled McWhorter.
Coach Young and McWhorter revived Raupers Sr. His son, met him at the hospital, where their first conversation had nothing to do with doctors or defibrillators.His father told him that he had a game tonight, and he had to be there.
The star point guard returned to Notre Dame High School, where the Crusaders edged IAC rival Edison 71-62. Raupers led Notre Dame with 21 points. Everything seemed okay, but for the senior, something was different.
"The thing that really got me was right before the game started, I looked up where my dad always sits, and you know he wasn't there. For the first time in my life, he missed a basketball game. before we go into the locker room I go up and shake his hand and he says you know do good, shoot the ball, pass the ball, win. And I didn't really get that from him at the moment," said Raupers Jr.
Raupers' Dad wasn't there for Tuesday night's game, but thanks to Coach Young and McWhorter, he should be at many more in the future.