Competitive sports

Benched at 8

Benched !?!

autism basketball
I just spent an entire season trying to teach Isaac not to duck every time the ball comes to him (and also to run - rather than skip - down the court).

I found out that at the pizza party (to which I was not invited) there was great controversy, basically because of Isaac. The parents were angry because at the last game, the "championship" game, all the kids were allowed the chance to play (not just the best players). Apparently, parents felt the "championship" game was not serious enough - not real basketball. The coach actually sent out an email apologizing for it.

The thing is, that last game of the season was Isaac's best game. It was also the first time I have seen him actually try to shoot. Yes, he shot at our team's basket. But he didn't make the shot anyway, so does it really matter? I was proud but they were probably talking about that at the pizza party too.

I know some of this may be my own insecurity. I played sports my whole life but I was never very good. And by 'never very good', I mean I sucked. At most of them anyway. If there were a Hall of Fame for benches, the imprint of my ass would be in it. But I still played a lot of sports. And more importantly, I was a great team-mate and an enthusiastic supporter. And I passed the ball a lot.

Here is the other thing. Some of my kids did not develop typically. They walked late, had an unusual gait and do not have the coordination of other children. I think if the other parents understood that, they might be more sympathetic than they are. But maybe not. I don't know.  All my kids play sports - all of them. And they play sports even if they suck. They play sports because I believe a person's body and mind are connected. I also believe that sports are part of growing up as a person and living honorably and fully in the world with other people.

Not all our kids are going to make varsity. But these kids  are K through 2nd Graders. In a few years, there will not be a chance for recreational basketball, it will all be varsity. Btw, this wasn't even a school league, it was just a private group. You pay $180, practice nine times and then have a "championship" game against the other half of the private team at the end. So why are we pushing the kids now? Why are people angry the championship game wasn't a "real" game? Is the goal to teach children how to play a real basketball game? Or is the goal to teach children basketball skills, how to be great team-mates and how to be enthusiastic supporters?

Tiger parents - I was once one of you. All these children are precious. Let's dial it back a bit.

Bad Swim Meet
Bad Swim Meet

Honey, please don't be so sad. Somebody has to come in last and those kids were really fast. Anyway, we just need a new strategy. You don't have to swim fast. You just have to swim smarter.

Next time, when you are up on the block, look to your left and look to your right. Call out  "I can't hold my pee"  loud enough for them to hear. They'll back off.

Both Frisbees Are in the Tree

"Mommy, bad news. Both Frisbees are in the tree in the back yard. And also the tennis racquet and one of  the hockey sticks is up there. The other hockey stick, the baseball bat and two soccer balls are over the fence in the neighbor's back yard."

"I understand how the Frisbees in the tree, but how did all those other things get up there?" "Oh, never mind. Don't answer that."

Paige Rachel Winikoff's photo.
First Swim Meet

Julian, this will be your first real swim meet. I know there is a lot of pressure on you. I tried to protect you from this for a long time. If you win, I want you to accept victory with grace and compassion. If some other kid beats you, you should get out of the pool and punch him.

Related: Moms Who Don't Fit the Profile

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