Basketball heroes

This post is inspired by a piece Barry Nicholls from ABC WA Statewide Drive had on his show last week.

I’ve written before about how I’m an avid ABC radio listener – so much amazing information and ideas can come from that radio station.

Many people texted and phoned in to say who their heroes were. One particular lady said organ donors. She had personal experience with that type of situation. Fiona Palmer’s recent book ‘The Outback Heart‘ focused on this and is one of the most inspiring reads I’ve had this year.

To me ‘hero’ is an over-used word these days. I’m not going to go as far as calling the people I’m about to mention, my heroes, because I know they would be uncomfortable with the term, but they are certainly people I admire and are grateful to.

Last night, my boy played his last game of basketball for our small community. Most of you, who are regular readers of my blog will know my son is autistic, so for him to play a contact and team sport, is a pretty big ask.

He’s been playing since he was five and there have been many ups and downs through out the years.

The coaches play a big role in keeping him ‘under control’ on the court and as he’s grown older, become louder and sometimes been aggressive, it’s been a harder job. His over-reactions on the court can be legendary! (I don’t see my kids through rose coloured glasses – I am most aware of their good points as well as their faults!)

It’s not until you have a child who is ‘different’ you realise how important these types of people are. If you asked them, they would say they’re not doing anything special – they’re doing what they love; running a basketball competition and teaching the kids, so they can take over from them in later years. That’s how communities in the country work.

To the three coaches, Sue McD, Mick Y and Simon F, all who have the biggest influence and impact on Hayden, I can’t thank you enough. Your inclusiveness, patience and ability to give Hayden self confidence has been a massive gift to him.

I’m actually quite emotional about him not playing in our ‘safe’ little community any more. The people here know him and accept him for who he is. (Of course there is always the exceptions and I know who those people are too.) It’s a place he can be himself without fear of judgment.

Just watch out everyone here gets behind him: (Maybe turn down your sound, because my daughter lets out an almighty scream!)

It is also the only time he’s ever been able to be involved in a grand final  – and won a medal (he’s a fair but younger in this photo than he is now) but his medal is one of his most treasured possessions and still hangs on his wall.

hayden grand final win

And just as a sideline I need to mention Jenny McD and Shelley S who aren’t involved in baseball but are very involved in Hayden’s world. I hope you guys know how highly I think of you both.

So to people of our community who have given this little boy so much fun, so many smiles and so much encouragement, thank you.


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