Supporting the Coach
I support Coach Downs, imagine the stress he was under with the Autistic kid on his team. Years ago this guy would have never made the team and if he was lucky he might have been offered a position as team manger or bat boy etc. I never made the little league team in 1969 and I was offered the position of Bat Boy and I was not even great at that. ( but they tolerated me) In fact, I was 40 something before I had my autism thought figured out and controlled enough to catch a ball- please see my post on this blog (April 2004 ?) called Catching a Ball, it describes my elation in finally being able to do that!
I'm all for inclusion and I'm obviously in favor of helping anyone in the differently abled spectrum but enough is enough. Modern Autism has got out of control and they insist on way too many things. We are NOT that equal. Everyone in life has their crosses to bear and some of us might have been born blind or deaf for example and today many of these people do very well at real life. They get shunned and kicked in the teeth all the time and perhaps their greatest gift of all is knowing their limitations and GOING beyond them. If one door closes another opens. If this guy is not good at ball perhaps he might be a great cyclist or a rock climber? He might be a first rate swimmer? My point is him being on the team while on the surface looks good: if he is not good at it he is taking away from the experience for all of the others that also want to be there and do their best and reach goals and achieve. Being part of a team is a growing experience for everyone and a coach's leadership and goals for his team are tested to their limits with a person on board that can't pull his weight. I don't know of a coach in the world that would not want his team members to achieve their highest goals and would want to help them. I suspect Coach Downs was between a rock and a hard spot and he had the greater good of his team to watch out for. No one makes room for you in real life in a job for example and If you can't cut it you get fired and you find a job you can do. Life is NOT fair but neither is forcing a person on a team that is not qualified. I am so glad I was cut from the team and failed at so many things if it did nothing else it built character and gave me some higher standards to achieve.
Being on the team and not being able to perform is no fun either as you teammates that can do the job have to keep covering for you or working around you. At the end of the day your team mates are mad at you for ruining their game and distracting from their possible goals. Being on a team is about winning and working together and if everyone has the same abilities that is great but some don't. I was even kicked out of the Army as I couldn't march, it was just one of things I tried and could not do. But I did find many other things I could do and excelled at those. Yes, it would be very nice If he could be on the team and putting him there had the best of intention but, it simply didn't work, it is not the end of the world, do something else you can do.
I was beat up plenty of times for plenty of reasons while growing up autistic and I even experienced a lot worse things than having a ball thrown at me and I survived. Sending this coach to jail for this is treason all of its own. I urge Autism to step back and calm down a bit,re group and study our high functioning Anthropology and I bet you will discover what we have already figured out and everyone will be the better for it.
Rich Shull, http://prerainmanautismblogspot.com/