Tonight, a story of perseverance, and boundless energy: Meet 17-year-old Zach Dobitz, who’s become an unstoppable force in the North Dakota Special Olympics.
He recently made an unbelievable buzzer-beater that even made it onto ESPN. Just look for No. 25, that’s Zach, or “wild thing” as his Dickinson Special Olympics teammates call him
Zach described what happened that night, “Cheering for me, a crazy game. I stole the ball away and shot it in.”
“He’s just a ball of energy, really,” shared Zach’s dad, Pete Dobitz.
Pete is not just at Dickinson High as a dad, he’s also a physical science teacher, and sometimes, he gets to be the announcer at games.
“It just so happened that night I was doing the announcements,” he added. “Yeah, the countdown was going, you could hear everybody in the gym start cheering when he got the ball in his hands… like, ‘here we go again’.”
Zach has been playing basketball since he was 7 years old. A decade later, he’s a star player, and he knows it.
When we asked him what position he plays, he simply replied, “Shoot!”
“Only Zach would pull something like that off…you know, miss a couple of threes and pull a huge buzzer-beater like that. Obviously, he likes pulling a lot of shots and making big shots, but he passes as well and plays with his team, and gets everyone else involved,” shared Evan Showalter, a Dickinson High School senior who plays on the school’s varsity basketball team.
Evan Showalter hangs out with Zach as a part of a peer-to-peer program. But it’s safe to say, they’ve become pretty close buds.
Zach shared, “Evan’s proud of me for shooting threes at the crazy game.”
“You know, they’re another peer. They’re not the special education students, they’re just another person,” Evan added.
And Pete concluded, “Whether it’s what we could consider normal kids at the high school level, or it’s Special Olympics kids, he has a way of getting the best out of kids.”
Zach has a message for all his fellow Special Olympians across the state: “Don’t quit, just keep playing.”
Zach isn’t just on the Dickinson Special Olympics basketball team. He also plays volleyball and throws the shot put for track and field, and he won first place at state bowling for the Special Olympics. He also wrestles for Dickinson High School.