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Man's Courage to Show up For Daughter's Basketball Game Despite Losing His Leg Moves the Internet

Randy Knecht from Wisconsin had never seen any cross-country basketball events where his daughter participated until now when he showed up to give her a sweet surprise.
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Randy Knecht
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Randy Knecht

A parent's active participation in their child’s education outside of formal classroom settings is valuable. When they volunteer at school events, attend parent-teacher conferences, and show up for special events, the parents leave an impact on their kids. But there are times when parents are unable to play cheerleaders for their kids, just like former Cochrane-Fountain City coach Randy Knecht.


Knecht has been suffering from a number of health issues ranging from diabetes to kidney failure and even had his right leg amputated. But the father from Wisconsin braved all the physical and mental hurdles to show up for his daughter during her basketball game. Before this, Knecht was unable to attend any cross-country basketball events where his daughter Ana had participated due to his medical issues. But for this particular event, Knecht and his closest friends came up with a surprise for Ana.

When Ana's name was announced she had to walk towards her family just like everybody else in her team. But little did she know, along with the family members she expected to be there, her father had also showed up to surprise her. In a video posted by WIAA Championships, Ana can be seen going down the bleachers to hug her father as they both get emotional. “What’s easy for me is to see Ana’s positive attitude," Knecht told ABC News 19. "She’s always cheering. Then for me, to be able to sit there and do my therapy and my reps get hard. I think of my kids and that’s why I’m doing this.”


“I had no idea and I was very shocked," Ana shared with the outlet. "I thought I was in a dream. I just hugged my mom and cried. I went down and hugged him and said hello.” Turns out, it was Joey Arneson, one of Knecht's best friends, who had come up with this idea to surprise Ana and they hilariously dubbed the whole plan and execution as Operation: Flea Flicker. “It was tough," Arneson disclosed. "The only time we could talk about it was when we were on the phone together, Randy and I. It was difficult because I wanted to tell everybody else about it. Yet I had to be quiet or the word would have got out and Ana would have probably heard," he added.


After a tearful exchange with her father Ana joined her team to play. “I think I probably might have jumped out of my chair," Knecht said, referring to Ana's brilliant performance in the basketball game. "To see that, to see Ana play and contribute to a state-ranked team. All out ducks lined up perfectly and that was a big part of it.” According to the news outlet, Knecht had spent 25 years of his life coaching several basketball teams before his health issues forced him to quit.


Like the rest of the people in attendance, Knecht's two sons were also unaware of his father's surprise. “It meant a lot to me," Izaiah, one of Knecht's sons, told the outlet. "I knew this wasn’t something I was hoping for but he had to come in support of my sister.” “Community’s been great towards him," Eyan, Izaiah's brother, added. "He’s done a lot for everyone and everyone’s so tight here. It’s one giant family. The community here is great. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” During the game, Ana scored five points off the bench and also the final basket in the game with around six seconds left as her team defeated the opposition. “The best day of my life by far," the proud father, who had a front-row seat at the event, mentioned. "So hats off to everybody. We got it."


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