Monday, August 6, 2012

Scratching the Surface

With the exception of Thursday's rather short, and photo-less post, I've been remiss in my efforts to keep you, my faithful readers, up to date. In my own defense, life has been...eventful. Let's see, a two week visit from my brother and wife, Max's eight-day fever, two nasty stomach bugs, a one-week curriculum workshop, and the passing of my grandfather. It's been busy, but I'm feeling renewed energy and inspiration. Being on vacation doesn't hurt! I have several ideas for posts that I plan to publish in the days ahead.

Sports are a way of life in my household. You can't live in the same house as my husband, Sean, and not be affected. Fanasty football drafts; Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots games; multiple sports commentator programs; and now hours and hours of DVR'd Olympic competitions--the testosterone level is high. I've learned more about beach volleyball in the last week than a girl from the northeast could ever need. So it's no surprise that when Sean's boss gave us tickets to the New England Patriots Training Camp last week we were there.

A friendly fan offered to take this pic. Max doesn't seem too thrilled! Actually, he had a great time hollering and clapping right along with the crowd.
Cool view, huh?
As exciting as the practice was to watch (getting a look at Tom Brady is pretty exciting too), there was something even more exciting to experience. It's gonna require a little background info.

A few months back, Sean attended a fund raiser for work. I don't really know the details, but there was a young man there, probably in his early twenties, named Bobby. Bobby has Down syndrome.  Sean, an extrovert, got talking to his mother, Elena, and they swapped contact information.

Somehow (probably using that contact information) Sean knew that Elena and Bobby were also going to the Training Camp and arranged for us to meet. What an experience!

Elena is exuberant and larger than life. Her passion for her boy and for the Down syndrome community is infectious. I mean, not only did she bring her son, Bobby, and his friend, but she also brought one, two, three (at least) people who work with the Special Olympics in some way (along with several more family members and a few friends). Bobby had an entourage.

If I understood correctly in the chaos of the cheering crowd, one of the individuals, Clete, was the director of Special Olympics (at least on the local level). Sean, with sports flowing through his veins, is like a kid waiting for Christmas about Max joining the Special Olympics. According to Clete, hat long anticipated day looks to be sooner than expected.

As it turns out, the Special Olympics allows children as young as three to join. I believe they don't compete until age six (probably a wise rule), but the little ones can play and get involved. In addition--this is the REALLY cool part--some communities have programs for kids even younger than three, and our community, being so heavily involved in Special Olympics (who new?) might be one of those places. In Clete's words, our community "has a lot going on." That's so exciting!

So, I started thinking, what do I do now? "Clete, how do I found out about programs? Do I just go online to the Special Olympics site and search around?"--a potentially daunting task. "Well, you could," he said, "but---" and then the woman in front of me, Donna, turned and handed me her business card. She's the office manager. What luck!

And it really is luck. When school let out in June, I had so many plans to get more involved with the Down syndrome community this summer, but, you know, life gets in the way. We're already in August and I've done virtually nothing. That night was exactly the unexpected encounter I needed.

We are just scratching the surface.


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