Because of limited services to children who are deaf and have psychiatric disabilities in our state, my daughter, Marie, has been placed in a residential school out of state. This has worked out great, as she is educated and has good social relationships during the school week, and is able to come home on the weekends for quality family time. However, because her school is two hours away, I have been unable to attend any of her after school soccer games. This past weekend she and I went shopping for soccer gear for her to be the goalie…a desire of hers for ages! Generally speaking, it does not make sense to have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder be a goalie because her athletic skills are better when running around the field and are not so good for paying attention and waiting for a soccer ball to come her way. For whatever reason, this child has always wanted to be the goalie, and it appears that her coach agreed to give it a try. So, for her momentous occasion, I decided to drive up to her school to watch the game.
Marie was thrilled to see me. In fact, she was so thrilled to see me that she kept looking over and smiling and waving…usually at the same exact moment when a soccer ball would come flying into the net to make a goal for the opposing team. Try as she might, the reassurance of me being on the sidelines overcame her ability to perform her roll as the goalie…given the assumption that she would have been able to perform the roll in the first place. I was mortified as the balls kept flying past her, but she kept smiling and signing “Mom! I”m the goalie!”
I tried not to look at her so she wouldn’t look at me. What I saw and heard astounded me. Her team looked like most other soccer teams at schools for the deaf…all sizes and abilities, attempting to be as inclusive as possible. The opposing team was made up of what looked like 6 foot “jocks”. I looked at the burly guys and thought “Wow! They must all really work out at the gym at THEIR school.” Then I started to listen. They were cheering each other on. “Vite! Vite!” and “Passez-moi!” My immediate reaction was that I was thrilled I was finally able to put those 5 years of learning the French language to good use, (rather than the more popular Spanish language which should have been my obvious choice!) Then I realized, they weren’t DEAF, they were FRENCH! AND they were GREAT soccer players! Yes, my daughter did let ball after ball through as they scored goals, but the fact of the matter is that no one on her team ever got close enough to their net to even TRY to score a goal. So yes, my daughter’s team may have lost, but I blame it on the husky, six foot tall, great soccer players from the private French school!