For years I’ve wanted MJ to participate in various sports programs.  Starting from about 6 years ago, I tried to put him in swimming classes and was told, “We don’t have anyone that teaches special needs kids.”  I then tried to sign him up for baseball.  This was supposed to be a league set up for special needs kids.  I filled out the form twice, called and left messages, and emailed the contact persons and no one ever contacted me. I also tried the local YMCA and again never got anyone to contact me even after going there and trying to speak with someone.  I felt invisible and also felt that people didn’t care about my son because he wasn’t what they called “normal!” I really wanted to curse these people out in 3 different languages but I had to remember that I loved Jesus and that doing so would probably get me nowhere! 

Recently I received information on a sports buddies program through the YMCA.  Due to the issues I’ve had in the past I really had low expectations that anyone would contact me.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received a phone call and email answering ALL of my questions.   I signed MJ up for their basketball buddies program.   I explained to him that he would be playing basketball with a buddy once a week.  He looked at me strangely and I knew he was processing what I was saying.  It was new for both of us so I couldn’t give him further information.  On the first day he was a little nervous.  On the car ride over he was playing with his mouth which is something he does when he is nervous.  When we walked into the gym his face lit up when he saw the other kids.  I decided to stay back and observe his behavior.  I had already decided that if he didn’t look happy or didn’t engage, then we would not be returning.  I was thrilled to see MJ participating in several basketball “drills” and high fiving his “buddy!”  He stopped playing with his mouth and was fully engaged in all of the activities. So far he has had two sessions and everything has been completely organized and lots of fun.  He now eagerly anticipates going. I’m truly grateful for this program.  It’s wonderful to see the teamwork and self confidence in all of the kids. 




39 thoughts on “Finally

  1. Nicky, I’m so glad that he’s having a ball with the basketball buddies. I’m so sorry to hear what you were going through. I will continue to pray.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful news!! I am happy for you both.
    Stephen Loves basketball also. He was very good at it from a child. No leagues in those days but we grew up with cousins who would play with him and later when he went to live in his group home he had more opportunities to play. Now Stephen does not get the concept of dribbling but he gets that ball in the basket every time! Amazing! Stephen was also an active participant in the Special Olympics (Queens) for many years. Both his group home and training center provide him many exercise opportunities and to mix with other residents/students.

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  3. I vaguely remember our YMCA doing something like this. Now that MJ is in that program, ask the other parents if they do sports other places…once you get your foot in the door……Does your park district have a *special rec* component? Kiddo took swimming lessons with our park district’s Special Rec co-op from the time he was 8 or 9 through high school. He loved it!

    These programs are difficult to fund (you pay something as tuition but finding staff qualified to work with our kids is something else!) and if they don’t have enough children sign up for the program, they cancel it. Before, perhaps you got stuck *in-between* them canceling and having it go and that’s why they didn’t respond. Since they didn’t know you or have a relationship with MJ, they probably felt no need to.

    Hope he has fun! He looks so darn cute in his shirt πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so happy to have that foot in the door! I believe soccer is coming up next. I will speak with the other parents. Thanks so much for the thoughts and advice!


  4. Aww… I am so happy for you guys πŸ™‚
    Yes, sport is a good instrument to keep a child healthier and happy. It also develops team skills.
    Very glad for you, Nicky!

    Liked by 1 person

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