LAKE CITY, Minn. (KTTC) -- Sports have a way of revealing who we really are.
Blake Fredrick is a special needs student at Lincoln High School in Lake City. Lake City is a basketball town, and his parents say everything changed when Blake decided join the team his sophomore year.
"A lot of it is just having friendship, companionship with all his peers, and confidence. They give him confidence just to keep on moving forward," said his father Carl Fredrick.
Blake is a Minnesota sports fanatic. In 2018, the Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to a big contract to be the team's starting quarterback. Blake, the sports junkie he is, wondered when he was going to get his big contract -- just like Captain Kirk. So, the school's basketball team drew up some paperwork ahead of senior night.
Blake's new contract made him a star at school -- as well as the owner of the biggest smile in Wabasha County.
"I signed a big contract for the varsity team," he said. "To play the varsity."
Thursday night's game against Lourdes might have been Blake's first varsity call up, but he's no stranger to the hardwood. In fact, he's been lighting up the scoreboard for years.
"We need positive things like this," said Lake City head basketball coach and school Principal Greg Berge. "When you get stories like this, they hit home a little bit more, and they're a little bit more personal because we need that right now."
Blake and the community have embraced each other through basketball. Blake's favorite player is the Tigers' all-time leading scorer, and current Northern Iowa guard, Nate Heise. The two keep in regular contact, so Heise decided to send Blake a message to congratulate him on his new deal.
"Deserve it" is a phrase that comes up a lot when you talk about Blake in Lake City. Everywhere he goes, Blake brings with him a positive attitude and a glowing smile -- and his community has come to recognize it.
"You face obstacles in your life, and you gotta just keep pushing through them. I think Blake is a perfect example of that," said Heise, who now plays at Northern Iowa. "He's pushed through a lot in his life, and he continues to have a great attitude about everything, and that's something you can admire as a person."
Blake has been on the "A" Honor Roll for the last three and a half years, and even won an outstanding student award. But Blake's story is about much more than tangible success.
"He's just a great kid, and he deserves everything that's given to him, and I'm glad that I'm able to be his friend," Heise said.
While this could be a story about personal triumph or a student achieving a lifelong goal, it's not. This story is about how one person can have an effect on the community as a whole.
"It's our way to give back," said Berge. "When you exude positive, you exude love for each other, and when you do that, you can impact not just yourself, but the people around you, and he does that and he's done that in our school."