Finn’s Field of Dreams

When Finn was little, he could throw a ball with amazing accuracy. He used to run around the house (on his toes) yelling, “Get the ball. Get the ball. Get the ball.” We thought, for sure, he would have natural athletic talent like his, ahem, mother. Then, Finn revealed himself to us. Years of bribing Finn to go to Charlie’s games only to drag him away kicking and screaming because he was overstimulated. Long before Finn’s diagnosis, we had abandoned our original expectation that Finn would one day play organized sports.

And then today happened!

We signed Finn up for an adaptive special needs soccer league in our township. I can’t even believe it exists, but I am so glad it does! I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I had a pretty good hunch. Finn would walk onto the field. He would see all the kids. He would drop to the ground. We would go home.

And then today happened!

We got to the field. Finn waited patiently in line. He saw other kids from school. He waited patiently in line. We got his jersey. He didn’t care what color it was. Wait. Who is this kid? We met the program founder, who I emailed the night prior to give him a head’s up about Finn, he and his wife were AMAZING and this was clearly not their first time at the dance. He ever-so-gently encouraged Finn to play with his “buddies” (two adorable high school girls who fawned over Finn’s every move!) and before we knew it, Finn was kicking a ball! Did you hear what I said? Finn kicked a ball! I know that to most typical parents, kicking a ball is not a big deal, but we are anything but typical over here. The amount of balance and motor planning it took for Finn to swing his leg back and kick a ball (and not fall over) is amazing! Not to mention, even more amazing, that he did it on a field with a bunch of other kids and their buddies running around!

At one point, he ran off the field just to hug me and said, “I’m having a great game, Mommy!” I was bawling. As I am sure were most parents there today. Because what we saw today wasn’t a soccer game. It was a chance for our kids to do something that most other kids and their parents take for granted. The chance to participate. The chance to wear a team jersey. The chance to be cheered for. The chance to belong. 

Joe and I walked off that field today like we were David Beckham’s parents! Some kids’ parents are disappointed when their kids don’t score a goal. We were overjoyed that he played the game!

Thank you Daryl and Jen DiTroia for being such special needs trailblazers. Thank you to Brooke and Ashley, Finn’s buddies. I wish I had that much empathy and character when I was in high school!

Finn (and Challenger Sports) showed us today that the impossible is possible if you just change your lens. I couldn’t be more proud of what my kid accomplished on the field today and it had absolutely nothing to do with sports.


15 thoughts on “Finn’s Field of Dreams

  1. Shannon I laugh and cry at all of your posts! You are an amazing mom and writer! I love hearing the stories about your family–Thanks for sharing your great day, hope the next game goes just as well (or even better). Congrats to Finn!

  2. Shannon your writing is beauitful! Everytime I read your blogs I can actually see through your eyes and feel the love and devotion you have for not only Finn but all of your children!

  3. Shannon…I’m sitting here in my room, while my students are eating their lunch downstairs and a tear fell down my cheek. I am so happy for you, Joey, Finn, and the whole family. You have inspired me, and given me the energy to complete my day teaching with purpose. You are truly amazing!

  4. I am not kidding here….I really think you should take all of these posts and create a book about dealing with the first year. Your writing is amazing and I KNOW that other people would benefit from your perspective.

  5. Finn…congrats buddy…we all heard what a supper soccer star that you are down here in Florida. It took some time for us to receive the news because Florida is 1250 miles away. We were hoping that you could send us an autographed picture for my refrigerator in my new kitchen. My kitchen is not done yet. We had a terrible flood and construction on our home won’t be done until after Santa Claus comes (because all of the elves are also responsible for making drywall and hardwood flooring and our stuff is on back order). So when you get a chance between learning new things and being so famous an autographed picture would look really nice in my kitchen. I love to cook and I have many famous chefs with their autographed pictures framed like Paula Deen. I would like yours as well. Kindly mail to me, Bernadette Taylor, 383 Dixie Highway, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689. Thank you Finn, have a great day – every day and SMILE ALWAYS!

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