We are not raising professional athletes. We’ve known that from day one. Nothing against our kids athletic abilities, it’s just reality. However, we do enjoy rec league and summer ball programs that allow our kids to enjoy the sports they do, learn different skills, work as a team, and just enjoy being kids with their friends.
When Ben was diagnosed with autism, many things that seemed just to be a given such as our kid playing summer ball, suddenly came in the question. So much of life as we knew it, everything we thought we knew about parenting came into question not because he suddenly changed, but everything around us had changed. The rules in this game we call life changed with the knowledge of what our son was facing: autism, expressive/receptive language disorder, and a slight motor delay – in short, he would likely always be just shy of keeping up with the other kids physically and he would struggle communicating with his peers, coaches, friends, fans, everyone both in being able to understand what is being said to him and being able to express himself as well.
However, when the time came to sign up his older siblings for heir summer fun, Ben grabbed his glove and said “I’m-a ready, Mommy!!” So we registered for an adventure we could only imagine! There was a lot of “I’m tired. I’m hot. And I’m done.” But there were also a lot of smiles and a lot of laughter. This has continued to be the case through the t-ball years, each one easier than the last. Yet, as he grows older I know there’s a good chance the time will come that he will no longer be able to be on the field. Mom won’t be a me to be on the field helping him to stay focused not just to be a team player but also just to be safe, to be aware of where the ball is to avoid being kinked on the noggin by a hard-hit ball.
Honestly, I thought perhaps this would en the season he is done as our little guy just cannot process a ball flying towards him, even if it’s just been soft-tossed from the coach. He still needs to be able to hit it from a fee. Much to my surprise before sign-ups even rolled around, Ben started requesting a trip to the ballpark for a baseball game The first even somewhat warmer day we had, long before the last snowstorm, he came running to me saying, “Mommy, mommy I want to play baseball – let’s go to the ballpark!” I nearly couldn’t believe my ears after the excitement over being done at the end of last year’s season so I questioned him multiple times from different angles trying to make sure I had understood this proclamation to play summer ball. Indeed he does and indeed he will. True, he’ll be the tallest kid on the T-ball team and by far the oldest but he may just be the one with the most spunk, as well the biggest fan section as our town loves this little boy more than we could ever hope for, more than we can ever imagine. Thank you for encouraging our boy in such a way that even though it’s hard for him to process a ball coming at him, he still wants to get out and play. He still wants to be a part of the team and we couldn’t be happier about it.