He runs to make his mind still, to organize himself and to get rid of the noise from this loud, confusing world. The more he's moved, the more he's introduced patterns and rhythm into his routine. Laps around the house are a daily ritual. He's made it more complex as he's developed, but the basics are the same. There is a pattern of movement -- specific foot patterns based on whatever song or chant he chooses to accompany the run, and he can not be stopped until he is ready to be.

This is James, and this is our story.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CVS Caremark AKC Pats Day Part 2: Post Game Analysis

editor's note: if you haven't yet read Pre-Game Planning, this will make a lot more sense if you click the link and read the background (at least I hope it will...)  

As any good manager knows, it is often necessary to make adjustments as the game approaches. 

he was ready to go at 6 am!  (We didn't leave until noon
so he had time to take his pajama pants off...)
I knew the amazing crew at CVS Caremark All Kids Can got James a t-shirt, but I wanted him to feel like he was a Patriot before he even left the house. I was thinking Wes Welker, but the football jersey gods had other ideas, so James was sporting an equally fantastic looking Danny Woodhead jersey for his arrival at the stadium. Luca, his close friend and the clear leader of the two, was appropriately wearing #12.

The climate change gods threw another wrench in the game plan and decided a Nor'easter would make the day more interesting, so All Kids Can Patriots Day was moved to the practice fieldhouse. Not the jaw dropping stadium experience I was hoping for, but probably a good move since 5 minutes after we arrived the skies opened up.

The boys were thrilled to walk into the fieldhouse and directly through the enormous, totally cool inflatable Patriots helmet. Once on the field, they were ready to play some football (or in James' case, some sort of hybrid football/ soccer/ rugby/ handball sort of game).

Coaches Patrick "Triple P" Pass (as dubbed by one of the kids), Max Lane and Jon Williams could not have been more amazing. They were funny, patient, engaging and encouraging, and that was just with us parents. With the kids they were extraordinary!
Role Reversal

As manager, you always hope your players are mentally prepared for the game, but sometimes they need a little extra motivation.  After stretching with the coaches, Luca wasn't thrilled with the drills and preferred to break off and start his own game, pulling his little shadow with him. Luca's mom and I knew we need to adjust the game plan a bit so we offered our players a little bribe incentive to stick with the team and give 100%.

Then I saw something amazing happen. My little follower, who has NEVER gone against Luca's game plan, started dragging, yes, physically DRAGGING, his friend back to the rest of the team. We watched as roles were reversed for the first time in their 3 year friendship, and I was thrilled to see my son exude the confidence needed to lead by example for the first time ever. It carried over onto the field.

James tackled the Tackle!

Luca settled more easily into the routine of the drills, and the boys had fun, but then something set James off.  It was the arrival of the Nutcracker Pat Patriot, who must have sensed that the misnomer came from Luca, because while Luca's mom and I were in hysterics laughing about it, Pat Patriot snuck up behind Sheri and scared her silly. Luca saw his mom in distress and tried to take down Pat Patriot, and James cowered behind a coach, far away from all the action.

Luca and his beloved Nutcracker
It didn't take long for Luca and Pat Patriot to become friends, and the two palled around for the rest of the session. James, however, was on edge whenever he came near, but the volunteers, coaches and cheerleaders tried their best to engage him (extra special thanks to Sarah, a Patriots cheerleader with a heart of gold, for coming over and kneeling down to talk to James, trying to make him feel better).

Lunch might have been one of James' favorite parts of the day, but Luca was more interested in the autographs. When it was our turn to get autographs from the players and cheerleaders, Luca sauntered over to the cheerleaders' table and said "Hey ladies, who would like my autograph?" Athena graciously agreed, and Luca gave her a poster of the cheerleaders, inscribed "To Athena, From Luca".  Seriously, how can you not love this kid? The boys scored autographs from everyone, plus extras from the cheerleaders (just in case Dad wanted one).

Although James preferred to sit on the sidelines a little, he had a fantastic time, and when it was time to go, we got a chorus of "It's over already?  But we don't want to go", as well as some tired sounding "That was the best day ever, wasn't it" from Woodhead and Brady in the backseat on the way home as they investigated the contents of the backpacks they were given and ate the french fries they worked so hard to earn.

A huge thank you to CVS Caremark All Kids Can and The New England Patriots for such an amazing day. We are lucky as a community that you not only believe all kids can, but that you donate your time, money, resources and most of all, your undivided attention to our children so that they can believe it also.

Thank you Patriots (do you notice that the coaches are all blocking Pat Patriot from James?;)


1 comment:

Alysia said...

What a great looking crew! So glad you went and were with people you trust and who knew how to work with your crew . An experience for a lifetime!