Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Monday, 21 March 2016

#MarchMadness2016

We hit another milestone in Riley World.

Two words.

Basketball Tournament.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought we would be participating in a weekend basketball tournament with either of the boys and yet here we were. Exciting, nerve-wracking, and for Riley World…stressful.  Boy was it stressful!  Lucky for us, one of R's support workers was able to come along because what 21 year old wants their parents sitting on the bench with them.  ;)


Two words.

March Madness.

A weekend of basketball with a record 29 teams. Athletes from all over the Lower Mainland and Island came to compete this weekend. The energy level was high. The noise level was high. The stress level was high. Chances of a meltdown were…well…high.

When you have a record 29 teams and only 2 gyms...waiting was a given. A surprise fire alarm after the opening ceremonies…was not. Thankfully we live ~10 minutes away from the venue so we were able to go back and forth during the breaks. Four times on Saturday to be exact. The day ended after nearly 12 hours with the melt-o-meter wavering extremely close to the red zone. McD’s on the way home for Riley and a McTini for me when we got home.


Two words.

Special Olympics.

Where individuals with unique abilities are given the opportunity to be a member of an organized team.
Where individuals with unique abilities are given the chance to play and compete in a multi-day tournament.
Where individuals with unique abilities like Riley are encouraged to be the best that they can be.

Something that is not a given when you have unique abilities.


Riley first joined Special Olympics in September 2012 and each year since he has tried something new. We have seen Riley challenged and grow with each new activity.

Competitive would never be a word I would use to describe Riley. The word I think best describes Riley is Sportsmanship.

Sportsmanship is defined as ethical, appropriate, polite and fair behavior while participating in a game or athletic event. When a basketball player plays by the rules, is fair to his opponent and is gracious when he loses, this is an example of sportsmanship.

I watched as Riley clapped and cheered when either team scored whether he was sitting on the bench or ummm standing out on the floor. I watched as he passed  the ball to the opposing team the two times he actually touched the ball because he didn't know what to do with it. I watched as he moved out of the way in order to let his opponent have a clear line to the basket. Polite, Fair and Gracious...yup…Sportsmanship was the word.

But by far one of the best things I watched…everybody and I mean EVERYBODY cheered for each other. There were no agruments about not getting enough play time. There were no screaming players/parents about missed plays. There was just encouragement and comradery.

And that is the beauty of Special Olympics.




10 comments:

  1. What a beautiful experience for all of you! I can PERFECTLY picture Riley standing aside to let the other team have a clear shot and passing the ball to the other team because he didn't know what to do with it, because that is EXACTLY how Kyle played basketball when he was in about 3rd grade (first and last year he played).

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    1. I don't think Riley even touched the ball in the second game. But he's improved since the beginning of the season when he used to duck out of the way if anybody threw him the ball. Hahaha!

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    2. Yeah, Kyle was all about self-preservation and didn't want to get hurt, so he was nowhere near a ball during a game, be it basketball or soccer.

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    3. YES....self-preservation indeed!!! HA!

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    4. "A weekend of basketball with a record 29 teams. Athletes from all over the Lower Mainland and Island came to compete this weekend. The energy level was high. The noise level was high. The stress level was high. Chances of a meltdown were…well…high." Read this and assumed you were referring to me but then realized you were talking about Riley! Thank you for having the strength, determination, devotion and love to see this through! I am super psyched that Riley got the opportunity to attend and can't help but wonder what his final thoughts were. Do you think he will do it again?!

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    5. Hahaha...I can see how you came to that conclusion Kelly! :D You all did such an amazing job!!!

      It was quite the weekend alright. So difficult to get any feedback from Riley. The fact that he managed to hold it together all weekend says a lot! He's come such a long way with his coping skills. Will he do it again??? I hope so. :D

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  2. This is beautiful. The Joy of the Game!! Something I think a lot of other kids are missing out on. How wonderful that Riley and these other kids get it. It's a beautiful testimony to how it should be.

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    1. Thanks Les! It really is refreshing and uplifting to be a part of sports being played with such sportsmanship. :D

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  3. Congratulations! DC has participated for many years (not basketball; he really doesn't get it). The waiting is tough. Glad you made it through!

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    1. OMG...the waiting is SOOOOO hard. We got there too early so waited for 2 hrs before we realized he didn't have anything for another 2 hrs! GAH!! He was a real trooper and yea...R doesn't really "get it" either. ;)

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