Every person in my family is a Jock – that’s right with a capital ‘J’. Ok, my sister isn’t as much as our dad (was) and mother and brother are but next to me she is – insert the name of some lady jock here because I don’t know who any of them are.
Our house had trophies everywhere – including the closets. This was during the years where you didn’t get trophies for participating. You had to earn them.
My dad was a volunteer coach on and off for about forty years. He worshiped our home state idol (God really) and coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vincent Lombardi – “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”.
Every sport he tried to teach me ended in tears (by both of us) and the tipping point was always “You throw/run/hit/jump like a girl!” The civil rights law Title IX was created for guys like him.
He was a ruthless kind and while he did end up redeeming himself he could be in his words, “a class A prick.” He is in heaven right now or that place people go who live righteous kick ass lives and smiling down at me thinking, “Yea, I was a kind of a Prick. Thanks for thinking of me, Kid!”
I never saw the value of competition in life then as he would have liked. I do now. If competition makes you strive harder to be better it is a worthy pursuit I think.
I am thinking about my family of Jocks and my dad in particular today because of a story that is flying around Facebook. It is about an opposing team player throwing the ball to a young man with developmental disabilities on the other team. I understand people are crying when they read it because it’s so inspirational to them. It is not inspirational to me. The kid that threw the ball seems like a decent sort and he made a personal decision and I will support that. I will not support that it is news worthy that he did it. Maybe it’s the tone of the reporter but it smacks of pity or at the very least patronizing.
This is the second story that got my goat this week – see my post News flash! Hotty Has A Down Syndrome Friend!
I refuse to be grateful for people who are seen as going out of their way to help some kid with developmental delays, Down syndrome, etc. Or the news media who churns out this feel good crap.
I don’t want to have to count on maybe my kid gets included. I want it written in stone someplace he is included and accepted. That’s the story I am looking to read.
Thor goes to the City’s recreation program after school. When he plays with the girls they inevitably try to teach him something (math, coloring in the lines, Thor! or how to read the moods of those of the female persuasion), they hug him and all around baby him. A few of them have gotten a sock in the stomach for their good intentions. He knows when he is being played.
I had the occasion to see him with a group of boys in the gym one afternoon. They were playing that old (painful) perennial Dodge Ball. Thor – as I have mentioned in the past is literally the smallest kid in the school. Often he is mistaken for a three-year-old impostering as a kindergartener. His is in a word – Lilliputian. Yea, and he has DS.
You would not have known it though in how he was being treated by the twenty-some boys ranging in age from five to nine and two adult men in the room. You don’t know acceptance for your six-year-old son who has Down syndrome until you see a fourth grader throw a ball with such force at your kid who is running his ass off only to be thrown off his feet a couple inches in the air. Thor then did what all the other kids did that got smacked. He picked himself up and got back in the game. In fact, he got game.
As my dad got older he came to realize winning was still good but the love of the game was better.
That does not however mean if my father was still alive today he would cut Thor slack because he had Down syndrome. He would be eff’ing ruthless because that’s how he treated all his kids.