Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tornado is a Soccer Star

Last Saturday, Tornado started playing soccer. That might not seem like a big deal. Most kids play soccer or t-ball or basketball or something. It's a big deal for us, though. First of all, he has just never really been interested in playing sports. It's not something that comes naturally to him, and I'm not a parent who ever felt like there was something my kid HAD to be interested in. He's just always preferred to take art classes or something, which was fine by us.

Second, he has sensory processing issues galore, and it's truly not possible for him to just sign up for any team. At least not easily and without many situations to deal with.
I heard about Community Connections a couple of years ago. This is a local, volunteer, non-profit organization that allows kids with special needs to take part in soccer, dance, drama, and football. I was excited about it, but at the time, Tornado was not interested. I think that seeing his brother play soccer this year caught his attention, and he said he WAS interested this year when I casually asked him about it.

From their website: TOP Soccer provides children the opportunity to participate in an organized soccer program in a safe, positive environment. The program is designed to give everyone a chance to play, and to foster the values of teamwork, pride, and accomplishment within each player.
He kept happily waving at us during his practice.

I took him to buy soccer cleats, shin guard socks, and shorts, which were not required or necessary, but we wanted him to feel like a real soccer player. He looked awesome, and he loved it. I think it is important to "look the part."

It might look like he missed that ball, but he was actually kicking a different ball.

There were a lot of kids taking part in the program. They will have several weeks of practice, and on the final Saturday, they will have a game. During practice, the kids all kind of buddy up with volunteers, who appeared to be highschool football players and college soccer players. It truly melted my heart to see these big guys teaching our kids. Tornado's buddy was very sweet to him, always putting his arm around him or giving him "five."

My eyes filled with tears on many occasions during the day. First of all - just thinking about my first born child and how much I love him. And seeing him so excited and doing so well participating. (Great, my eyes are flooding right now, as I type this.) There were the other kids, too. Like a little boy going through the "tunnel" at the end, while pushing his walker...

He was super excited about the tunnel at the end of practice. He knew all about this because he does it for his brother at his games. I was so happy for him.

I have no idea if he'll be so peaceful and cooperative at the next practice. (Most likely he will, but these kinds of things are not easily predicted with him.) It's hard to explain what I mean by that. If you know him personally, you know what I mean. If you have a child with sensory issues, you know what I mean. He had a great time, though, and I hope I see this smile on his face again this Saturday.


MaDonna Maurer said...

Jenny, LOVE this post! I've never met Tornado, but totally understand...have one of those kids with different issues and never predictable. Makes life interesting and fun, eh? btw, you had me wiping a tear while reading it.

Tracy said...

I love you, Tornado. I love you very much.