Athletics and Disabilities

Today starts my son’s 2nd week participating in track and field as a Freshman in High School. Since Paul has a rich variety of learning disabilities
(social/cognitive, dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.), sports is one of his hardest school subjects. Paul’s disabilities aren’t visible – he is a tall, hefty, and smart – which causes problems when he does not respond as expected. He went out for track and field because one of the coaches is also his Math teacher. They get along well and Math is Paul’s best subject. We hope that having a coach who already understands Paul will help him stay with running.

Paul was on the wrestling team in 8th grade last year. His team mates wrestled to win but Paul wrestled to learn how to be on a regular sports team. He set himself goals for his matches like: 1) don’t quit, 2) don’t bleed. Paul’s approach has much in common with the Athlete Oath for the Special Olympics:

    Let me win. But if I cannot win,
    let me be brave in the attempt.

It has been raining hard all afternoon but the coach told Paul last week that “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor hail…”* will stop training runs. I just talked to Paul on the phone and he said he was “wet, wet, wet, wet, wet,” after running for hours in the rain. But he stuck it out!

* motto used by the U.S. postal service, adapted from Herodotus

1 Comment

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One response to “Athletics and Disabilities

  1. I think Paul’s match goals and the Special Olympics oath are awesome and scale well for most of life’s quests. 🙂
    Congrats, Paul, on your success in the rain today!

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