Mary Holland shoots hoops in the family driveway.
Mary Holland shoots hoops in the family driveway.
For the Holland family, CYO sports are part of the glue that holds the family together.

Mary Holland, a seventh-grader at Jackson Middle School, and her older brother William, a freshman at Lincoln High School, have long played CYO sports that are affiliated with St. Thomas More Church in Southwest Portland. Their father J.P. often volunteers as a coach, and mom Grace is always there to cheer for the entire team.

Sports, Grace said to the Catholic Sentinel in June, keeps her family tight. It helps the kids stay fit and everyone has a chance to visit with friends.

Mary, who was born with Down syndrome, ended up in Oregon’s daily newspaper twice last spring when Oregonian columnist John Canzano wrote about how one little girl can inspire an entire CYO track meet.

When Mary’s photo and story ended up in the Oregonian, the spotlight wasn’t just on Mary and how special she is, Grace said, but also on Mary’s community and how receptive and loving they are to this little girl who is a little bit different.