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Monday, September 20

Special Olympics, and the art of Ridicule

I went to my first Special Olympics event over the weekend.

As a VOLUNTEER, fucksticks.

There are several events in our area. Earlier this month there was a volleyball tournament, there will be cross-country skiing in January, basketball skills in Feb., basketball tournament in March, and the first of several track meets in April.

Saturday was the bowling competition, and I was placed in charge of (at first) a group of highly-functioning 16-29 year old girls, and when they finished, a second shift of 30+ year old women. Each group bowled three games apiece, and without bumpers, the girls all averaged about 55-60 pins, and the ladies about 75.

One of the girls started crying after one game, and wanted to see her grandma. We had to bring her over to the staging area, but everyone else had a great time! Gutter ball or strike, when they come back to their seats after their turn, everyone gives high-fives, hugs, applause, praise and nobody is cut out, left off or ridiculed. There is absolutely NO POINT in ridiculing such people, for they are trying their best, and criticism isn't going to squeeze another pin out of them.

I signed up for this event months ago, and it couldn't have been better timed, for the night before, my eldest son completely stunk out the joint in his fourth football game, in which his team suffered his first loss. I was so livid that I could not control myself in the second game. I yelled at the players, I yelled at the coaches, I yelled at the refs, and eventually, some old fucker in the stands yelled at ME to control my opinions, and of course, I yelled back.

Then, when my son came home, I yelled at him for playing like suck.

He gets high marks from his coaches for attendance and respectfulness, but even they can see that he practices and plays in an unmotivated manner. I know this, and whether or not I was just frustrated, or whether I really thought that my jumping down his throat was going to make him give more, but I let him have it.

But a funny thing happened. It made ZERO difference to him. He is going to do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. He doesn't play for my approval. Who knows why he plays? But I was reminded of something during the bowling tournament.

No matter how much or how hard, or how cleverly I vent, it isn't going to help matters ONE DAMN BIT.

So, on Sunday, my younger one stumbled and fell all over the place in his game. I clapped and cheered.

Next Friday, when my elder one goes back out there, even if I see him firing out from his left tackle position and hitting nobody, like he does 75% of the time, I will clap and cheer.

I don't agree with it. It doesn't feel right to me. But it's all I can do.

Anyway, the Cubs have to win 10 out of their next 14 to make me happy. If they have 92 wins with one game left and they are still behind in the Wild Card race, then we all can lay our heads down, close our eyes, and sleep easy knowing that, with everything in a long season, they have done all they can to represent Chicago in the playoffs.

Fuck St. Louis. Fuck the Cardinals. Fuck Jim Edmonds, and fuck his trained gerbils.