A Nice Story


HT: Ace of Spades



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3 responses to “A Nice Story

  1. Clarence

    I’m not seeing it.

    They gave him a fake touchdown. I know the kid has Down’s and all, but unless it was his last game and he was just so bad that he never scored – why disrespect him like that?

    Are they trying to shield him from failure the few times they put him into games? I think it would be a better lesson in that case (assuming he really is too limited in some way to play at an average level at any position) to let whatever happens happens and show him that his teammates support him no matter what. After all, if he’s only playing in games they’ve either totally won or already lost, it’s not like he can hurt the team.

    Part of me finds this touching, but I fear it teaches the wrong lesson if they intend to let him play again.

    Now if he’s failed in the past, and needed a picker upper..well, I could see it in that case, esp in a game the other team has already won. It’s just I don’t know the context , but I feel that if they are trying to make sure he always succeeds via artificial manipulation, I fear they’ve done the kid no favors.

    • Hi Clarence,

      I admit I should have read the story a bit closer. I just assumed he had been toiling away on the sidelines for 3 or 4 years and finally got a chance to be put into the game.

      The movie Rudy, plus downs syndrome, in other words. This does change it somewhat for me, but I still think that overall, it’s a positive story. Even if it hurts my merit based street cred.

      I wouldn’t want this treatment of him to become a common occurence. Scoring a touchdown in a high school game is such a unique and memorable experience that an exception is alright in this case.

      I wouldn’t want to see a trend of every mentally challenged kid in the state being given freebie touchdowns all the time either. Not really worried about that though.

      I’m not that familiar with downs. I know it varies in its severity. I’m wondering if he already senses special treatment, and if not, if he will ever know it occurred.

      Will he have an aha moment and realize he was being played for a fool?

      If he does, does it matter? My parents told me I got presents from Santa Claus but I still love them and realize they “lied” to me for my benefit.

      I also like stories that show sports being put into a bit of perspective. Particularly on the high school level.

      I think your objections are perfectly reasonable though.

  2. Clarence


    Thanks for understanding the “spirit” of my reply. We are mostly in agreement. I’ve seen mentally and physically handicapped kids do great things without “help” , so if I hadn’t read the story, that’s what I would have assumed in this case.

    As someone who was perfectly physically and mentally normal and still absolutely sucked at any sport other than volleyball ( I was luke warm/tepid day to day in playing that) I certainly know what it feels like to be “the goat”, to be last picked on any team, and I know how much esp. in elementary and Jr high a “win at all costs” mentality can hurt kids. So I’m generally in favor of slaughter rules , 100 percent roster participation (when it can be done without hurting the team) and even activities and games that are less competitive and that nobody really has to win or lose. Even in Sr. high, college, and arguably (maybe in some instances) the pro sports I can see slaughter rules, and I’m glad they have , for instance, sportmanlike conduct rules in the NFL. And of course in anything super physical like football, hockey, or mixed martial arts, safety has to be of some consideration.

    And a bit unrelated but I still feel important to put out there: no child should be afraid to come to school, so effective anti-bullying programs are needed with the realization that one never can stop all of it.

    This young man is probably severely impacted with his syndrome and hence when he is in the game he needs to be protected. It seems the coach is trying to balance fairness to the team with fairness to individuals and a larger mission to use the sport to teach character building. I can commend that. My worry is simply that since we don’t know all the details the desire to be fair has been taken to far for either bigoted (hey, let’s let the DS kid play now. Everyone put on your kid gloves and give him this or that ) or politically correct (kids will be absolutely crushed if they are ever allowed to fail)reasons. I hope that is not the case here.

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