"An important difference exists between a competitive versus a recreational activity.  
For example, a quadremembral amputee should be guided to an appropriate recreational activity.  These patients enjoy no competition or competes only against their previous performance.  Otherwise, if allowed to participate in a competitive activity against children without a limb deficiency, the patient's self-image could be affected negatively." 
- taken from "Competitive & Recreational Sports in Children with Limb Deficiencies" in the Association of Children's Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics, 1992, Vol. 27, Num 1 by Charles H. Epps, Jr., M.D. & D'Orsay D. Bryant, III, M.D.
I may not have an M.D. after my name.  I'm just a mom.
A mom of a congenital quadremembral amputee.
But I know HOGWASH when I see it.
(Actually, R would probably note that I do not usually detect hogwash very well - I tend to be rather gullible... but I do know it in this particular instance.)

Will is playing soccer.  It's a team sport.  It can be very competitive.
He's in the city league and guess what?  He's the only congenital amputee on his team.
That doesn't stop him.
In fact, as far as I can tell, he's going to have numerous life experiences in which he is the only congenital amputee...
I'd say soccer only enhances his life.
I'm thankful  Roger Crawford & Kyle Maynard have ignored this advice.

So, I'll get off my soapbox now & share some photos from his first game of the season.
His littlest cheerleader:
(Seriously, she claps her hands & in a high pitched voice yells, "YAY" repeatedly!  So cute!)
His first game of the season.
Both teams wore red & black.  It was a bit confusing.
Actually, it was really confusing.
(Will is in the center - his black socks stretch up to his shorts.)
the huddle
(I love this age when they kind of just huddle around the ball & chase it everywhere.)
At one point, Will quit chasing the ball and decided to just hang out on the other end of the field.  I guess he figured he could conserve energy & that eventually, they'd make it back down there. :)
We did have a slight problem with Will & another boy staying on the circle.  Apparently, the coaches would instruct everyone to line up on the circle for the first kick (kickoff?  What do you call that in soccer?) and then someone would kick the ball and they would chase it in huddle... except for Will & another kid who hung out on the circle - just like they were told to do.  Plus, they were tired, they said.
Despite all of our yelling to "RUN AFTER THE BALL!  LEAVE THE CIRCLE!" they ignored us and one time Will yelled back, "I CAN'T!"  I guess I need to tell his Coach to tell him that it is okay to leave the circle.

Will did make a great pass kick - but I missed it with the camera.  Trust me, it was great! :)

Here he is with the ball!  Go Will!
I say hogwash to those authors.

Granted, it may not be competitive yet.  (Although, we did have one player who got very angry when someone blocked him... and he kept record of his goals.)  But there are things my child is learning on a team now that I can't teach him just at home or even in a single player sport - 
how to be a gracious winner and a good loser
encouraging others (one little boy at practice wanted nothing to do with playing - I was so proud of Will for encouraging him to come join the team and have fun.)

And frankly, there are things those other kids learn from having Will on their team.
They learn how to work with others who are different from themselves (again - life skill!)
They learn compassion, sensitivity, and empathy.
They learn to value those who are different - that having differences doesn't make Will a less critical part of the team.

We're not setting him up for failure.  We're not damaging his self esteem.  
We're teaching him life skills.
We're teaching him that we believe in him and we support him.  
We're teaching him that he can do just fine in a world of people with hands and feet.
We're teaching him he is equal and he is of value.
He's building friendships and learning how to obey a coach.
We're teaching him that he can do anything he wants to do.
We're cheering for our son.  Loudly. (Although after practice, he asked me to please be louder at his game & he demonstrated. :))

I don't know what he may end up doing in his future.  I don't know if he will choose to excel in a team sport or an individual sport.  Perhaps he will excel in music somehow or be an artist.  I don't know.
But, I do know that having limb differences doesn't limit him.  And it doesn't limit our choices in what he can participate in.  
And, I, for one, can't wait to be cheering him on in whatever he chooses to do!
I'll just make sure I'm loud enough.

(enjoying his powerbar after the game. :))
Goodness, I love that face.

4 thoughts:

Annette said...

What a load of malarkey! I can't believe anyone would say such a thing. Your son is amazing! And how funny he didn't want to leave the circle :-) whatever he does when he grows up I'm sure he is going to be awesome at it! :-)

Leslie said...

Yay, WILL! I loved soccer at that age...it was fabulous entertainment!! I always said it was like herding cats! HA! I don't think I laughed any harder than when Cullen played! Oh, memories!I have no doubt Will will excel at whatever he does...you can just see it in his eyes!!:) Good for you for calling that article hogwash!:)

So wonderful to see you at BSF. Your children are just precious!! I hope you have a great year!! Hope to see you again soon!:)

Mama Bear said...

That post was breathtakingly beautiful. So proud of what amazing parents you are for Will and Ellie.

shae said...

Love it Katie b.--well spoken as always! He continues to be adorably handsome and looking more like you, I think. Ellie is bea-u-ti-ful!!!'. I love her and néed to kiss that face!

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