July 24, 2020

Fast Friday read: 3 pointers, ND socks, plenty in common

A few months before the pandemic, Mini did a project for BPA, business professionals of America.  Her group had to do a video attempting to gain more fundraising dollars for a high school group/cause of their choice.  They chose Special Olympics.  

The girls gathered video footage of people involved in the program, and Mini had a great idea to interview Bobby.  Bobby helped run the basketball camp at the high school back when Laddie and Eddie were tiny, grade-school participants.  He is now 30 years old.  I suspect that he is autistic, but I am not quite sure what causes him to be considered 'special'.  He is very high functioning and very passionate about the high school's basketball program (Special Olympic and otherwise).    

Mini came away with so much great footage:  Bobby imitating his go-get-um speeches at state in his heyday, Bobby referencing the importance of Special Olympics programs, and Bobby being Bobby.  

He is an amazing basketball player - like he hasn't met a 3 point shot that he cannot make.  Bobby shoots hoops at the health club we belong to during the kids' hours on Sunday afternoons, and he often chats with my kids - especially Reggie.  

During the interview process, Mini met Bobby's mom.  She told Mini that the league that Bobby now plays for (organized for special adult  athletes) is in desperate need of volunteers.  She gave us the number for the group that runs the games.  I called the woman and volunteered Reggie the next week as a ref.  

Reggie on the right after handing the
ball to a participant to be in-bounded.
I texted Coach while I sat in the bleachers the first night that Reg did this reffing thing back in February.  'I think this is going to be good for Reg.'  

I could tell walking in that Reg was a little nervous.  He asked me more than once what he should say to the guy in charge.  I was like:  introduce yourself and say that your mom talked to Karen, who asked if you would be a ref tonight.  

I ended up introducing Reg to the head guy and he was expecting my kid.  It was very low key.  

People, Reg is a great kid, but he needs to learn to be more assertive.  I have found myself lately telling him:  'Speak up. Ask a question.'  I mean, I would send him to school and say 'Give 'em hell,' but Tank already took that angle and got himself kicked out of school with less than an hour left, so I those are not the words I choose to encourage him with.  I have told him to tell the boys in his class to stop being A-holes.  I mean, come on, Reg, you got all these brothers to back you.  No one, and I mean no one should push you around.

I blame birth order.  As a little kid, Reggie was a hell raiser.  He answered to no one and let his voice be heard ALWAYS.  He is responsible for every gray hair on my head.  He was Mr. Spunky as a little munchkin, but we think having older brothers who regularly put Reg in his place has chipped away at his tough guy persona. 

ND fans!!!  What are the chances?
 The SAME socks!
Nowadays he seems to fear messing up.  In our family, there is always someone available to make sure you don't forget how you screwed something up.

Bobby's team is very high functioning, so there weren't many calls that Reg needed to make.  They pretty much played by the rules.  

On the way home, I asked Reg if he noticed anything unusual.  The thing that stood out to us both was that if someone fell down, every player raced over to help the guy up and ask if he was OK.  I think the experience was a great way to put things in perspective for Mr. Ultra Competitive.  

At half time, Bobby chatted with a few fans in the stands.  He pointed out in dramatic fashion that he had to keep his socks folded down because his coach was not a fan of ND.  He quickly rolled the socks up to show off the otherwise hidden ND logo.  

I could NOT believe it.  Reg had on the SAME EXACT pair of socks!  I had them pose for a photo after the game.  

Of course since Reg has claws apparently in place of feet, he put holes through the 8 pairs of ND socks he got for Christmas by mid-March.  


Busy Bee Suz said...

I love that he was (maybe still?) having this great experience working with people with disabilities. Nothing more humbling or uplifting in my opinion.
The sock thing is SO funny!! What are the chances?
My girls were always less than assertive and it made me crazy; they're getting better at it.

Ernie said...

Suz- hello my faithful Friday reader. ;) Unfortunately by the time we got in touch with the league that was the only game left. I hope he will get involved with special olympics at high school, whenever they go back to group stuff.

The same socks slayed me.

Our health club remodeled during the shutdown and they got rid of basketball court to make more space for classes. Sad because Bobby was there whenever he was not working at McDonald's and he could walk there. Reggie had just met age requirement to shoot hoops there on additional days besides Sunday so he is bummed.

Anonymous said...

What neat experiences for your kids, the interview/presentation, and the reffing. It reminds me to make sure and involve my kids in opportunities to interact with and serve others that they may not get to in their day-to-day lives. Have a good weekend :)

Ernie said...

Anonymous - I do like the out of the ordinary opportunities so kids might have to stretch themselves as they interact without a 'plan' laid out for them. Enjoy your weekend too!

Bibliomama said...

My son wasn't the most assertive when he was younger either, but he's done just fine now that he's out in the world. This is a great thing for your son to do - nice to see other modes of competition.

Ernie said...

Ali - someone has been busy reading! Yes, this was a great experience. I hope he gets involved in the high school program. I think Reg IS more assertive when one of his siblings is not hovering. ;)