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Meet Maurice Cain

Posted at: 02/01/2013 9:31 PM
By: Laura Lee

 (ABC 6 News) -- Maurice Cain, the quick thinking, energetic shooter, is the captain of the boys basketball team at Mayo High School.

"I'm the only one in my family that plays sports," says Cain. He's also the captain of the football team.

"My teammates look up to me and it feels good."

And when you hear his story you'll end up looking up to 19-year-old Maurice too.

Maurice grew up in southside Chicago. He has a brother and two sisters, one of which is mentally disabled. But after Maurice's parents divorced and left Chicago, so did a lot of his dreams.

"For Maurice, he's always had his dad since day one and when we moved to a whole other state, it was kind of hard because he didn't see him," says Maurice's mother Shaketa Clark.

"I remember I used to get mad at my mom and ask for my dad, and she would tell me, he's not here, I'm your dad," says Cain.

At nine years old, he arrived in Rochester. But a broken home became the least of his worries.

Maurice had to learn how to survive for his family,"I knew it was going to be harder for my mom because she didn't have anybody else." 

"Having a little sister with disabilities, an older brother with ADHD, he was in the middle," says Clark.

"When I was in 4th grade, i'd have to take the city bus to school," says Cain, "I remember sleeping on the bus one time and waking up and freaking out and thinking I missed my stop."

Eventually, Maurice grew into his role of the man of the house.

"He makes sure the doors are locked at night, he takes out the garbage, he makes sure the house stays clean," says Clark. And when she isn't looking, Maurice takes care of her.

"She's up til four or five in the morning spitting up mucus, one time I stayed up crying and just asking God why, why is it my mom that is going through this right now," says Cain.

Doctors found lesions in his mother's vocal chords. "She use to sing in a choir and now she can't even sing anymore and its hard to see," cried Cain.

She has since had two surgeries and is doing better, but the fear never goes away for Maurice.

"My biggest fear is being gone and having something happen to my mom, something she can't help herself if she's alone or having my sister watch my mom go through it," he says. 

That fear has prevented Maurice from getting a job and even scaring him about leaving home for college.

"I don't even remember the last time I told my mom I loved her, its hard, I don't remember the last time I hugged her," cried Cain, "I don't know, I just don't know why."

And as if life hasn't thrown him enough curves, "we didn't have heat or hot water until about a week ago."  

"My mom used to block of that room and that room and have to turn the oven on with boiling water just to have heat on that side of the house," says Cain. 

He recalls getting up every morning, "its not the best feeling, 15 degrees out and washing my face with cold water."

"Nobody knows what I am going through, I don't try to have people know what I go through, I try to keep a smile on my face as much as possible," he says.

And its that smile and that heart that keeps Maurice going.

"The struggles i've been through people probably expect me to give up, and its something I will never do, giving up is not an option," says Cain.

And despite many falls over the years, Maurice has realized he can dream again. And those dreams begin on the court.

"Maurice leads because guys know that his heart is in the right place," says Mayo High School Boys Basketball Head Coach Shawn Lang.

"Playing sports is like my way of showing them i'm staying positive," says Cain.

Using the same skills on the court, as well as off.

"He's in something where he has to be disciplined, and held accountable, learning to sacrifice for a teammate, learning to give up part of what you like in the sense of the game, to benefit everyone else," says Lang.

"Coach says its not about winning or losing its about how we play through the whole game."

A game that if played right will lead him to his goal. Starting with the possibility of playing basketball for Saint Mary's University in Winona. 

"If people see me out doing bad things they're not going to know me as this basketball or football player, they're going to know me as some street kid," he says.

"They grow up so fast, I see him being a husband, a dad taking care of his family to the best of his ability," says Clark.

She adds, "I'm so proud of him, Maurice is the best son, he'll always be my boy."

The same sweet boy who left Chicago more than ten years ago, the same spirited boy who overcame tough odds and the same young man standing before you with a bright future he's earned.

"I know i'm blessed a lot and I just know if I can do anything, I want to give back."