If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making a Difference

Many of you are familiar with Spencer's story and his trials and tribulations with his health.  He has a sports blog for which he talks about nothing but, well, sports.  Sports are the love of his life, aside from God and his family.  He never blogs about personal triumphs or tragedies.  However, his blog yesterday brought me to my knees and to tears.  So, I am sharing it with you in the hopes that it will make a difference in how you treat and perceive people who are "different" from everyone else.  Here you go....

Something To Prove

I guess I'm blogging about this because I don't feel like the guys I'll be working with read my blog and those of you who do I'm sure can keep it a secret.

I've got a little less than a month until I start 10th grade, but my offseason ends before school starts. You see this summer I've had time to reflect on my life, what I need to change, what I can get better at, what I can keep the same, and what I need to start working toward. These are pretty much the questions anyone asks themselves when evaluating their life.
The answers to the first three questions are irrelevant to this post, but the third is essential. "What do I need to be working toward?" I asked myself. "Well, I want to be a coach someday. Let's see...........no real playing experience..........no real coaching experience either, guess I better get to work on that." So I met with the head football coach (Coach Helm) at Arkansas Baptist (where I used to go to school) and the head basketball coach (Coach Hogue). I will be helping in both sports however I can while learning the ins and outs of coaching. Even the coaches though don't know my other motivations to help out with the sports teams besides the obvious motivation of wanting to be a coach.

"You don't know because you've never played" a phrase that's thrown around in sports maybe a little too often, and a phrase that I've had thrown in my face more than a couple times. For years I've lived in fear of that phrase.  It haunted me every time I gave thought to possibly, in some way, try to be part of the actual sport teams, not just a fan like I've been for more years than I would have liked. Hey, can't change the past though, I have to make the most of my future.

Everybody at Arkansas Baptist has known me since first grade, almost everybody at least. I can't tell you how many years I actually went to school there, most years were cut short due to me getting pneumonia.......or worse. I can tell you I've been home-schooled the past three years, for the most part  just to ensure I stay healthy.
I won't lie, for most of my life I've been helpless. I've been limited as far as what I can do by myself, I'm pretty sure ever since I was born I've been labeled as "disabled".
There are lots of people in this world that are "disabled" or "special needs". The problem I have with those terms is that I think the people that aren't labeled, the "normal" people sometimes automatically think less of "disabled" people even before they meet them.
Don't say I'm wrong, there are plenty of people that think less of us just because of a label! They think that they can't carry on a conversation with us, or we need help with everything, or maybe even our brain doesn't work right. That may be true for some but for most of us you would never know there was anything different about us just by looking and talking with us. You only know we're not 100% "normal" because of a few stupid labels.
I'm going to go back to the labels here, when someone is labeled as "disabled" or "special needs" people treat you differently. They want to do everything for you, they want to help you with every single thing like you're a newborn baby or something. They also talk to you differently, they talk to you with calm and sweet voices, almost like you're a dog or some kind of pet. Another thing that drives me crazy, and I'm sure other people, is that they want to protect you from everything! A ball hits you, "Oh my gosh are you ok?!" A bee stings you, "Oh my gosh do we need to take him to the ER?!" or even if you fall down "Oh my gosh did you break anything?!" it drives me insane! Some people just zone you out, like you don't even exist.
Like it or not though, we can tell who thinks less of us, we're not stupid. We can hear it in your voice, we can see it on your face, and we can tell by the way you treat us. Those of you who treat us right, you probably have a really good chance at being a good friend of ours.

Let me get back on course, like I said, almost everyone at AB has known me for a long time. The downside to that is that they've seen me helpless, they've seen most of the low points in my life and almost none of the moments when I've been on top of the mountain.
I worry about how hard it's going to be to reshape my image over at AB, I still think most people think of me as a weak and helpless kid. I haven't made a bunch of appearances at AB in three years, but I'm not the same kid I was four and five years ago. I'm an enhanced version of that kid, bigger, stronger, really just better all-around. I guess that's what I loved about going to LA with my mom and brother. The friends I met out there didn't know me, they didn't know my story and hadn't actually seen the struggles I've been through. They treated me like a "normal" person, not like a Greek god or anything like that, no special treatment.

Being home-schooled for three years has done me allot of good, but also some not so good things. One being is that I've gotten used to being by myself, maybe a little too much. I think I like being by myself more than I like being around people sometimes. It's not something I want to get used to so hopefully being part of the football and basketball teams can help bring me out of my shell and expand the small circle of friends I've created for myself.

I often ask God why he made sports the love of my life. Why he made me like them so much yet he gave me no talent whatsoever to play them, I would even say I'm in the negatives when it comes to talent............except miniature golf.
 I have friends and family say that if God let me play sports I would be one of the best athletes ever, it's a nice thought for me every now and then. I still haven't gotten an answer from God that I really like yet, then again, He never does give us the exact answer we want.

I know it won't be easy, it takes more than a day to change what people think of you. I look forward to seeing my friends again and being part of the teams. I look forward to learning the playbook, learning how to be a coach, learning the players strengths and weaknesses, watching film, and those hot summer practices. I guess I'll start figuring it all out on Monday. Yep, it's going to be a long school year, that's fine with me though, I've got nothing but time to prove myself to everyone.

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