by Jonathan Oosting -
Eric’s story made headlines this year when the Michigan High School Athletic Association nearly disqualified him from his senior season at Ishpeming high because, at age 19, he was too old to play organized sports.
Media attention led the MHSAA to change its absolute age limit by allowing for certain exceptions, and the executive committee in August finally approved a waiver allowing Eric to play.
As an extra-point specialist, Eric didn’t necessarily win a lot of games for his team this season, but he could help his school win a $25,000 grant.
His story, as documented in a new Sports Illustrated video, is among 10 finalists in the magazine’s annual “underdogs” contest. Online voting opened this week, and Ishpeming currently is the front-runner for the grant and a 10-player trip to New York.
The mini-documentary includes commentary from Eric’s family, coach and teammates, along with moving footage from his season debut. He missed his first five extra-point attempts, but with time winding down and the crowd chanting his name, his final kick rang true.
“I think when those kids see someone like Eric working hard to overcome his disability, I like to think it motivates them to do their best as well,” his dad, Dean Dompierre, says in the video.