Go Get ‘Em – a Generation G message


If you follow college sports even just a little, you probably know this is Mike Krzyzewski’s final season as head coach of the men’s basketball team at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Coach K’s 42-year career boasts five national titles and 13 Final Four appearances. Impressive stats. And wins-losses at home?  572-75. A winning percentage of 88.4 home games that began with the same pre-game tradition:

Before tipoff, Coach K would find Blue Devil fan Steve Mitchell who was born with Down syndrome in his regular seat (right behind Coach K) to exchange a “go get ‘em” handshake. Game after game, season after season, year after year, “go get ‘em” handshakes were shared between these two men. This 37-year tradition of a kind human-touch gesture ended only 5 years ago when Mitchell passed away at age 62.


“Go get ‘em” exchanges like this are happening every day at GiGi’s Playhouses nationwide too!


“Go get ‘em” handshakes, fist bumps and hugs abound. Check this one out between our Site Director, Lizz Maxwell, and my grandson, Caden Carlisle!


Encouragement goes a long way for both parties when a kind human-touch gesture that says “I see you” can be shared. Once we grasp the impact we can have in such a simple gesture, it’s something we just can’t keep to ourselves but have to share with others! Just as the Krzyzewski/Mitchell handshake preceded and promoted a probable victory, GiGi’s Playhouses are doing the same by touching the lives of so many in their communities. Volunteers, therapists, workers, advocates and encouragers are getting into the game to change the world’s view of Down syndrome.


And, we’re not keeping it behind closed doors at GiGi’s either, but taking it to the streets!


Check out the fun exchange between enthusiasts at Starbucks with our very own Amy!



Lizz continues spreading the Generation G message with speaking platforms within our local schools. Seeds of awareness are planted with each event.



My daughter and son-in-law, Dana and Cody Carlisle, spend a lot of family time at Lakewood Park. Caden is well known at the park as he offers a “go get ‘em” fist bump to every person in sight. Smiles abound in this kind human-touch exchange.



At GiGi’s, it begins with a pledge, “Be Generous. Be Accepting. Be Kind.”  Write that capital letter ‘G’ with a heart on the palm of your hand and extend it to another! With a “go get ‘em” handshake, hug or fist bump, there’s no stopping what we can do! Coach K and Steve Mitchell showed us that insurmountable victories always begin that way!





Have you taken the Generation G pledge yet? We would love to come visit your school and spread our “go get ’em” message today!



 Thank you to Rhonda Wagner, grandma to Caden and published author, for another incredible blog post!


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  1. Sydney Shumaker on March 29, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    Such a wonderful place and so supportive of the Down Syndrome community. If your community doesn’t have this support see about getting one started.

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