October 22, 2017

Kevin and Tommy

Little League Baseball Players, by Heidi Malott

Back in the day, I was a Little League coach. I remember one year when I had 7-8 year olds. I was a new coach, and that fact plus a bad draw in the draft left me at a disadvantage. I ended up with only 10 players. Two of them were autistic boys.

Kevin was at the more severe end of the autism spectrum. Some questioned whether he should play Little League at all. I recall feeling quite angry the night of the draft when I heard other coaches talking about him. They occasionally tried to hide their disdain for Kevin by saying they were concerned for his safety, but it became clear that what they really wanted was to make sure he got on someone else’s team. I walked out of that meeting determined to accept this boy and work with him.

One of the difficulties of the situation with Kevin was that his mother was a single mom. She had financial troubles, and another son to raise. She had her hands full, trying to work and take care of her sons. She received no support from other family members or her ex-husband either. I can still see her pulling up to the field in her rusty and dented little subcompact. She’d wrestle Kevin out of the car and wrangle him over to the practice field with his gear and little brother in tow. Her eyes always looked desperate and hopelessly tired.

Someday...Little Brother, by Laurie Shanholtzer

Practices and games were an adventure that year with this little boy. One never knew when he would simply sit down on the field with his back to the game, so I kept him in the outfield. Then again, he might just decide to start running around the field. He did not always take instruction well and would get into loud arguments with his coaches and the other players. You had to watch him when he went up to bat. He might just stand on top of the plate and swing the bat at you if you tried to reposition him.

The other kids showed great patience toward Kevin, though their parents were not always kind and forbearing. Having only ten players on the team guaranteed that Kevin got a good share of playing time, which meant there might be several delays during every game while we tried to help him. Certain folks thought their own children were being neglected at times, which I won’t deny.

I’ll never forget the day, though, when Kevin got his first hit — ever. I was coaching third base. Kevin somehow got into an acceptable stance at the plate, rared back and gave a mighty swing. The ball hit the bottom of the bat and dribbled out in front of home between the catcher and pitcher. We all started yelling at the top of our lungs for Kevin to run. Luckily, this time he ran in the right direction (not a given), and he made it to first base safely. I jumped up and down with joy and clapped my hands and shouted over and over until I was hoarse, “Way to go, Kevin!”

That meager little hit might have been the highlight of the season.

And then there was Tommy. Tommy was more functional than Kevin. I didn’t know a lot about autism then, but I would guess he might have had Asperberger’s Syndrome. Tommy also had a better support system in his family, including a grandfather who spent a lot of time with him.

He was a quiet boy who pretty much kept to himself and would often talk to himself. His fine motor skills weren’t so great, so he looked clumsy out on the ball field, but he never displayed the sudden, unanticipated behavioral traits that kept us on alert with Kevin. I was glad of that, and am not sure we could have handled both of them on our little team if Tommy had not been as compliant as he was.

Like Kevin, Tommy struck out every time he came up to bat. He usually took a pretty good stance, but his swing was awkward and ill-timed. If I remember correctly, he finally did get a hit or two by the end of that season as well, but for a long time, you could count on the outcome.

One evening, again coaching third base, I was shouting encouragement to Tommy as he went up to hit. There were two outs and a couple of runners on base. It sure would be great if he could put his bat on the ball! But alas, he didn’t. Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. Tommy’s head swung down as he turned and loped toward the dugout. I could see him mumbling and as he drew closer, I made out the words, “One hundred twenty three, one hundred twenty three, one hundred twenty three…”

Tommy was due to stay on the bench that inning when we were in the field, so after I made sure the other players knew their positions and had their gloves, I sent them out and went in and sat down next to Tommy.

“Tommy,” I said, “I heard you talking when you came back into the dugout. You were saying, ‘one hundred twenty three.’ Why were you saying that?”

With the blank, unemotional face he always presented, he said, “That’s how many times in a row I’ve struck out.”

I felt like a horse had just kicked me in the chest. I couldn’t speak and tears welled up in my eyes.

More than fifteen years later, they still do. But I’m so glad I was there to hear Tommy’s words and to have the privilege of coaching a couple of boys no one else wanted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

 

Comments

  1. Oh my. Tommy brought back some Little League memories of my own. As a 12-year-old with Asperger’s (though I wouldn’t figure out I had it for another 25 years or so), I was stuck in LL “minors” without a logical position or any ability to swing a bat. Eventually I coped by crowding the plate so severely that opposing pitchers were often forced to either walk or plunk me. Suffice to say the highlight of the season was my putout (I was playing 3B that day, and the runner wasn’t paying attention). But I still look back on the memory — and my .000/.150/.000 batting line — with some fondness.

    • The Previous Dan says:

      Ray-
      Same here. They didn’t have a diagnosis of Asperger’s then, they just said “mildly autistic.”

      I remember Little League. It was one of the many activities my dad signed me up for to force me to engage the world around me (a very misguided form of therapy). I remember that the coach had a rule that no one went home until they fielded a ball, so at the end of each practice he would put us all out there and knock balls to us. Without fail the last two people every day were he and I. Finally he would tap me a grounder so that we could both go home. No fond memories there.

      My 18 year old has Asperger’s as well. My experiences growing up gave me a lot of wisdom in how I prepared her for life.

      • Margaret Catherine says:

        Of course, now they’re dropping Asperger’s from the DSM. Guess we’re back to being mildly autistic, or just what we were as kids – clumsy, socially awkward, etc. No grand memories of team baseball here either (home games are another matter). If they’d benched me and given me a book, now…

        • The Previous Dan says:

          “If they’d benched me and given me a book, now…”

          Yes! 🙂 I remember the neighborhood kids knocking on my first floor bedroom window while I was hiding with the lights out. They were trying to gather enough kids for a pick-up game of football but I just wanted to spend the day in my room reading. I was the sort of freak that could spend hours reading fantasy novels or even the family World Book encyclopedia and just hop from article to article.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            How often did you get beaten up in school?

          • The Previous Dan says:

            By the time I got to high school that wasn’t a problem. As a good looking child who didn’t talk I was a perfect target for molestation and all sorts of abuse and I was a repeat victim of those things. Anyway, end result was that by the time I was in high school I was so angry about being victimized that I was ready to let that burning anger loose and get into a fight with anyone. Since my dad had signed me up for every contact sport there was I could take punishment with no trouble so even the toughest guys would steer clear of me. Not because I could beat them, but because I would keep getting up and coming back for more and they didn’t want to deal with the hassle.

          • The Previous Dan says:

            How about you HUG? You strike me as someone with a similar story.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Removed at commenter’s request

          • Margaret Catherine says:

            Conquered the entire medical section in the children’s library, myself – and thanks to that, gave my brother a completely-innocent explanation of male puberty that left him blushing, and my mother and sister staring at each other in shock. I never noticed any of it. 🙂

  2. Thanks Chaplain Mike. This story made me cry. Something about underdogs gets me every time. My Jesus loves underdogs.

  3. Chaplain Mike,

    Thanks for this post. A great one. I’m coaching my son’s 7-8 year old team. I wasn’t planning on it, I was just going to be an assistant coach but when it came time for team formation, the school district my son goes to had one too many coaches and another school district (the one I teach in) didn’t have any. They asked and I felt I should since I teach in that district.

    We probably will not be that great, and they had to combine some city schools with mine just to get enough players so we are pretty racially diverse. My problem is I find myself getting frustrated, not with the other kids but my son. I don’t yell or anything, but my patience gets thin. I feel horribly about it and have determined to keep my mouth shut and treat him like the other kids.

    Any tips on how to get a kid to not be scared of the ball and not pull their body away when they try to catch one?

    My team can hit and they can field, only three of them can catch with much regularity:)

    • Final Anonymous says:

      Austin, that sounds about par for the course for that age group. The fortunate thing is, they progress really quickly at this age; each successful practice gives them confidence, and if the league is focuses on player development, the wins and losses aren’t as important as individual progress.

      It took most of the 2nd grade season before my son stopped pulling away. I’ll see if he remembers what helped, but I wonder if it isn’t just a combination of practice and development.

      A little encouragement for you — Many years ago, my husband was in the same situation you are — volunteered to help, and got roped into being the coach. But this was a sport he knew little about and had never played. The season was a disaster; they lost every game. At one point the league even refused to keep score for his team. He tried to focus on team-building, camaraderie, skill-building, but the losses really cut.

      The next year, amazingly (in his eyes), he was asked to coach again. Almost all his players came back, and several brought friends. They did have a much better season, but I don’t think most cared about the outcome. They learned, they improved, they had fun, and they bonded as a group. Even the parents still talk about that team with pride.

      I don’t know if it helps or not but your story was so similar I thought I should share. Good luck with the season.

    • Radagast says:

      Austin,

      I’ve coached baseball and softball on and off for about 14 years (I have a lot of kids). Only one of my kids was actually pretty good so I had to learn to just go with it and have fun. Part of the fear of catching is getting hit with the ball so I had some softer balls and wiffle balls when I taught how to field pop ups. I also stressed how they needed to keep their eye on the ball and would start close when throwing and move farther away to build their catching versus dropping ratio. By the way I hit at least one kid on the head with the ball per season (not intentionally) so I kept ice packs around.

      The key is lots of practices and practicing at home with a lot of one-on-one throwing. The catching part gets better as they move into 9-10s and the girls catch on quicker than the boys.

      But the overall key is to just have fun with the kids. Yes – its frustrating when the opposing coach tries to run up the score by running the bases – but I found getting a common understanding with the opposing coach before the game helps (and if you’re currently working out use it to your advantage when it comes to over zealous coaches).

      As the day wears on I’ll try to think of some other helpful hints.

  4. Final Anonymous says:

    Great story CM.

  5. I do believe that Jesus has a soft spot in His heart for the little Tommys and Kevins of this world. And the big ones, too.

    He surely did come for those who really need Him.

    • David Cornwell says:

      Amen Steve. And it’s up to us to show the love of Jesus to these children. My daughter teaches the second grade, and some of her most memorable stories are about children who are autistic or suffer from Aspergers.

      Thanks Chaplain Mike, for sharing this.

    • +1

  6. I remember when I played Little League baseball in California. My team was the “Cinncinnati Reds” Michael Spencer would have loved that! 😀 We had a member on our team that struggled, and struggled. He struck out everytime. As I recall he had visual issues. Then I remember the one game he got a hit.It was barely a hit and the ball went only a few feet. The whole stands errupted with people clapping and him sreaming to run. I was too young to appreciate the moment, but your post Chaplin Mike brings back memories.

    When I played Little League I used to be a power hitter. I’d go 4th or 5th and clean up. I did well until one day when the other Little League pitcher beamed me in my helmet. He threw wildly into the dirt, etc.. really, really fast. Being beamed really stung. That shook me up and I became quite fearful of standing opposite home plate waiting for more pitches. My batting went down and I was afraid that I was going to be beamed again.

    Sports wise I also did swimming, soccer, and tried basketball briefly (didn’t work…) and then I discovered football. And the rest was history!! 😀

  7. BTW CM..it’s posts like this that make me want to give you a hug and buy you a beer. 😀

  8. I work in an environment with a very large number of skilled engineers and scientists. It is amazing how many of them have a story just like Tommy’s.

    • And adding to my last post, “Blessed are the meek, for they ” will one day design all the high-tech weapons ….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Well, Asperger’s IS also known as “Geek Disease” or “Nerd Syndrome”…

  9. Randy Thompson says:

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    My favorite little league memory goes back years ago to western Connecticut when my sons were playing for the Sherman Yankees. One of their opponents was the Cornwall team. They were a truly terrible team, baseball-wise. But, they were a joy to watch. The team had a cavalier attitude toward the game. They loved to play and they seemed to love being a team together. Winning or losing seemed almost irrelevant. The most striking thing about them was their center fielder. He was wheelchair bound. At the end of each inning, one of the other Cornwall outfielders would push him back in to the bench. When it was his turn to bat, one of his teammates ran for him.

    When the umpire didn’t show, I would occasionally do the umpiring. (By the way, have you ever called your son out on a third strike? It leads to some interesting father-son times later. It was even more interesting the second time I did it.)

    I remember, one evening, when I ended up as the umpire, trying to figure out what the strike zone was for a boy in a wheelchair. Believe me, it isn’t big. I can’t remember whether I ever saw him hit the ball, but I do remember that almost every time he came up to bat he got on base: He drew a walk. Rather ironic for a boy in a wheelchair. I’m not sure whether or not they ever won a game during those years, but they understood what it means to be a team better than most others, and maybe better than some churches.

    I saw Koufax and Drysdale pitch for the Dodgers, and I saw Brooklyn’s legendary Boys of Summer play out their final years in Los Angeles when I was a boy. I’ve seen Jeter, A-Rod, Posada and Mariano play in New York. I’ve loved every minute of it, win or lose. But, that Cornwall little league team was the team that was pure joy to watch.

    If God is a baseball fan, that’s his team.

  10. dumb ox says:

    Imagine how the story would have been different if the coach was Mark Driscoll.

    • Driscoll would go OT, say it’s God will, and that he is having “visions” of who has done what in the audience. Then after popping open a beer, telling a red neck joke and let out a fart in the wind, he’d push his book on “Real Marriage” and talk about the Biblical basis for _____ jobs. A Mark Driscoll version of John 3:16 no doubt in some twisted ESV version…..

      Thanks….I’ll pass…….

      Christianity as I understand it is about protecting and loving the weak. That’s what many parts of the neo- reformed/reformed crowd has often forgotten. Christianity is about taking care of the addict, the homeless, disabled, the veterans, mentally ill, the guy down on his luck, single mother, single father, divorcee, abused child, unemployed person, etc…

      Now that we touched on Mark Driscoll…can you imagine what John Piper would say if he coached the game and a torando happened? 😉

      • The Previous Dan says:

        “can you imagine what John Piper would say if he coached the game and a torando happened?”

        Thanks Eagle, that made me laugh! A good way to start my morning.

      • Suzanne says:

        “Christianity is about taking care of the addict, the homeless, disabled, the veterans, mentally ill, the guy down on his luck, single mother, single father, divorcee, abused child, unemployed person, etc… ”
        Thanks, Eagle. That brought tears to my eyes. Tears of sympathy and tears of anger that so many who claim to be Christian have forgotten this.

      • Quote: “Teams, organizations, and churches have to cut the underperforming, overpaid veterans who are hurting the team. Even if they remain leaders, they have to be given another position without a salary and go find another job to pay the bills.”

        Wow. Just wow.

        • Beakerj says:

          Ouch. Ugly ugly ugly. What about the overweening, testosterone junkies who are hurting the team? What fo you do with them?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          i.e. Purge the Weak and Unfit.

          Just like high school. Where you learn there are Winners and Losers and You Will Always Be A Loser.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            P.S.

            “Extinction to the Unfit”
            — Eugenics Society, early 20th Century

      • The obvious inspirational message of this story is overshadowed by the antithetical message so brazen in American conservatism. This problem in the church long predates modern times. The church has conspicuously been on the side of the strong, rich, powerful, and presentable throughout western history. I can see how contemporary Calvinistas can identify with this, how predestination smiles on some and not others. The compatibility with the doctrine of natural selection is hard to miss. Christianity and religion as a whole resists natural selection, because natural selection is an obsolete aspect of evolution which now threatens the future of humanity rather than promoting its advancement by devouring the weak and seeking to exterminate competing clans and tribes.

        • Yup I see what you are saying. The church supports the powerful, elite, etc.. This is why evangelicals execute their wounded. This is also why evangelicalsim is a white, upper middle class club headquartered in surbubria. The Calvinistas use their “selection” to push their fame and to practice social darwinism. The weak must be pruned. The hurting must be executed. The “oddball” who doesn’t meet the standards must be shunned and isolated. This is why many of the reformed chruches consist of young, white, upper middle class, or young idealists in their 20s – 40ish range. Often with an affluent background. Their background helps teach them that they are “elect” And if you are not white, married, have a family, etc.. then the reformed has this “sucks to be you” theology. This form of Christianity is a faith system for the perfect.

        • The Previous Dan says:

          +1

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I can see how contemporary Calvinistas can identify with this, how predestination smiles on some and not others. The compatibility with the doctrine of natural selection is hard to miss.

          Maybe that’s why they’re so down on Darwin? Afraid of the competition? Or don’t want anyone to know they ripped him off? Or themselves became the worst part of Social Darwinism with a Godly coat of paint?

          • Just like in Star Wars E3: “You have become the very thing you swore to destroy.”

      • The more I read and hear about Driscoll, the scarier he becomes.

  11. I am the father of a boy who sounds a whole lot like Tommy. On behalf of all the autistic people, I want to say “Thank you, so much!” I wish there were more coaches, Sunday School teachers, youth workers like you CM.

    My son is on the high end of the spectrum: high enough to appear normal at first sight, autistic enough to be “weird” to most people. Some of the most heart-breaking (and angering) moments have come enduring the reaction of church folk to the peculiar behavior of my boy.

    Sometimes you ask yourself “Why did God allow this to happen to Tommy, my son, and my family?” I do not have all of the answers, but I know that after 19 years I have learned to look at odd behavior (in children and adults) through new eyes — the eyes of a father that desperately loves his flawed children. I now know just a small fraction of the emotion that our Father feels for His flawed children, and for those who would “keep their distance.”

    Great post. Thanks again.

  12. Professor Failure says:

    I am Tommy. Or was. I got one hit my entire little league career. In fact, I ended it after I got that hit. I knew I wasn’t likely to get another. I wanted to go out on a high note, my dad smiling at me. .I know I wasn’t what my dad was counting on in a son. He was so happy when I got that hit, it was like my universe lit up for a moment. I didn’t often feel normal, but I did that day.

    • Big HUG from Washington, D.C. A BIG, BIG, HUG!! 🙂

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I know I wasn’t what my dad was counting on in a son. He was so happy when I got that hit, it was like my universe lit up for a moment. I didn’t often feel normal, but I did that day.

      And you remember those moments because they are so few and far between.

      The only two times I connected with my father like that was in 1974 when we rebuilt my ’65 Mustang into a street machine and in 1992-93, when he saw my condo for the first time, and how I had fixed up, repainted, and remodeled the bathrooms.

  13. God bless you, Chaplain Mike. I’m deeply touched.

  14. Beakerj says:

    I’m just trying to find out if one of the little lads who comes to oneof my (non- church) youth sessions is on the spectrum somewhere…all my aspergers/autism alarms are going off as I watch him try to interact socially & look bewildered as he ‘gets it wrong, again’ & doesn’t know why.
    I was telling my co-worker that I hope he at least has a Mum & Dad who tuck him in at night & tell him he is absolutely loved the way he is. My heart really goes out to him. I love posts like this, because people remember this stuff…more than they remember all the lame evangelising they get.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      My writing partner tells a horror story of someone he knew whose son had “all the aspergers alarms going off”. Dad was a Spiritual Warfare type; three guesses how he reacted instead of going to those secular doctors. He’s been trying to cast out the Aspergers DEMON (TM) that possessed/demonized his son, including forcing the kid to memorize SCRIPTURE (TM) for at least an hour a day. Dad refuses all counsel to the contrary (“God Hath Said”?)

      • Professor Failure says:

        oh Lord, no….

        We’re a kind of personality, not a side effect of demon possession.

        That’s worse than being thought of as a birth defect.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          We’re a kind of personality, not a side effect of demon possession.

          When all you have is a Spiritual Warfare hammer, everything looks like a Demon Possession nail. (At least until you run into a REAL one, and this guy did. Ever hear about the “Seven Sons of Sceva” in the Book of Acts?)

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “Tommy,” I said, “I heard you talking when you came back into the dugout. You were saying, ‘one hundred twenty three.’ Why were you saying that?”

    With the blank, unemotional face he always presented, he said, “That’s how many times in a row I’ve struck out.”

    From someone who is probably an undiagnosed low-end Aspie who couldn’t hit a ball or run like a boy instead of a girl until he was in his twenties:

    Tommy may have had a “blank unemotional face” (and probably a blank unemotional voice), but inside he was dying.

    • And that’s why I cried.

    • My “Tommy” has passionate emotions that he simply does not know how to express, hence the “blank unemotional face”. No one ever knows during the moment how Tommy feels, but he goes home with emotions that stay bottled up for years.

      It is so important to be kind . . .

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        No one ever knows during the moment how Tommy feels, but he goes home with emotions that stay bottled up for years.

        Until (as almost happened to me yesterday) he almost has a fall-apart-crying breakdown from watching a nasty two-minute My Little Pony parody on YouTube. (Had to hit the back button 30 seconds in, and even then I was depressed the rest of the day.)

  16. You are a great coach, Chaplain Mike. But to tell the truth, I don’t like Little League or other competitive sports for young kids. As you noted, adults get involved and their egos take over, and you have very sad stories like this one. Back when I was a girl, and dinosaurs still roamed the planet (:-)), we played baseball on our own in a vacant lot down the alley. If we kept score, I don’t remember. We’d take turns at bat and do our best, and we certainly didn’t have any boring grown-ups around telling us what to do and how to do it. “Playing” under the eyes and directions of our dads and uncles would have made our loud, disorganized, good-time games seem like homework. I honestly think the last thing kids need nowadays is more push to be competitive. Guess that’s why I’m a Stegasaurus.

    • Radagast says:

      H.Lee – I remember those days too – heck we went over to our local park and dug our own baseball field (a bunck of 8 thru 12 year olds)… the parks department surely was not happy with us….

      But sometimes we remember those memories only in their purest form and forget that sometimes those events could get bad as well, like being picked last, or being told by the other kids to go home because you weren’t good enough – at least under directional ball we put the kabosh on that. Timmy the autistic kid would’ve never had a chance to play sandlot in the part of New York I grew up in and that’s sad…so organized ball can have its positives (now if we could just leave the parents home ; )

  17. Professor Failure says:

    ‘Tommy may have had a “blank unemotional face” (and probably a blank unemotional voice), but inside he was dying.’

    Yes.

    My son is a lot like me in these regards. I’ve tried to find venues other than sports, where he can shine. And he does shine, if we do math puzzles, or play chess, or build vast structures out of LEGO. And, surprisingly, Judo….

    My parents, they did the best they could, raised a boy as they had been taught to raise boys. I love them for trying. But I’m glad I went through what I did, because now I know how to raise someone like me.

    • The Previous Dan says:

      Your story sounds a lot like mine. Even your handle “Professor Failure” is something I relate to. As a teen I would do this little comedy routine for friends and family that had them laughing hysterically. I would string together and recount my sports failures; Little League just me and the coach as the sun set with him desperately hoping I would field a ball so he could go home, Football and me staggering off the field literally with cleat marks going up over my body and helmet, boxing and me expertly blocking punches with my face, wrestling etc., etc. And then my follow up routine about tales of me trying to relate to girls and coming across looking like some kind of three headed alien. Yeah, I knocked ‘em dead with those stories.

      Oddly, that is how I found my first success. I was lousy at interacting with people one-on-one, but I discovered I was good in front of a group. I found success in performing arts, musical theater, and eventually teaching. Sounds like you have done an excellent job in building your son up in those areas he has a talent for. Keep up the good work! He’ll turn out just fine with a father like you to guide him.

  18. Rev Dave says:

    Right fielders for the win!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXVnb0wveRg

  19. Radagast says:

    I mentioned above that I have coached both baseball and softball for years. I was definitely no super star in my youth. But this post resonates. My second son was a bit socially awkward and less developed in motor skills when he was on his first team with his older brother. One oft he greatest memories I have was when he finally got his first hit, a little dribbler in front of the plate. I was coaching first at the time and the look of shock and then determination as he responded to all of our calls to “RUN!” and ran to first was one for the memory books. He actually made it on base and he was beaming – I picked him up in a big hug (ok – I shouldn’t have done that but what the heck). It was wonderful.

    I’d like to say that this was the great turning point for him – but it wasn’t though eventually he found his sweet spot. After that I always relished those times when the struggling kids got their first hit – and really encouraged all the kids on the team to be supportive of everyone – it just made the game more fun.

    These days I’m coaching soccer for my 6 year old – talk about a hoot… I’m having a ton of fun!

  20. S.J. Gonzalez says:

    I have Asperger’s and my brother is on the lower end of the autism spectrum, so, I could relate to that story. My brother yells and my parents get no sleep. My mother has the eyes of somebody that’s seen a tad bit too much.

    I know for me I was rather happy to find out I had Asperger’s. I get easily offended by people, sarcasm flies by me at times, my motor skills suck (oh but I’m a wonderful bass player, though not particularly fast), and I’ve been made fun of for being blank in my emotional expression and being uber smart. It’s sucked.

    It’s also made me annoyed at the Church when it’s expected of me to know how the Miami Heat are doing, but they won’t discuss theories of the atonement with me and how that relates to how we evangelize, or how that portrays God, or something. Really when the Church praises basketball scores but mocks the fact that I want to study Scripture and want to be a pastor/scholar and I get made fun of for being smart, what the heck have we come to?

    Blessed are the meek indeed, because if not I’d been dead long ago.

  21. Radagast says:

    I remember when I was playing baseball in the early seventees… I could throw pretty good but couldn’t bat or catch that long ball to the outfield to save my life. There was one parent who use to heckle me everytime I came up to bat and I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die. There is nothing like crushing a kids ego when he or she is in the midst of struggling. And I have carried that through my coaching years. If a parent has the audacity to step into that mode of behavior, I will stop the game and bring all attention to bear on that parent. It usually stops the behavior quickly.