(If I could find my camera, I would post a photo here of Zachary playing football . . .  maybe next week.)

Zachary is playing flag football for the first time.  He is FULL of potential — he’s fast, he’s good at cutting back and forth, he’s tough, and he loves high-fiving for congratulations!  I think if the game of football and the plays and his specific role would just click with him, then he’d be dynamite!  He’d be unstoppable!

But when he is on that field, all of his challenges are so obvious!  Because of his sensory issues he doesn’t do well in the heat or in the cold, and today it was cold and windy!  The cold wind on his bare legs and face really does a number on him.  The mouthguard drives him nuts.  All the yelling and whistle blowing confuse him, leaving him quite disoriented.  He doesn’t know which of them to listen to so he oftentimes stands and jerks his head from yelling coach to yelling parent to yelling ref until he figures out which one is yelling for him.  And many times he covers his ears from the noise.  When he plays center, he actually covers his ear with one hand while handling the ball with one hand because the quarterback is so loud!  They started using their armbands today with 6 different plays written on them.  Each play has little shapes, several colors, and several arrows.  For a child with visual processing difficulties and visual-spacial issues, those armbands are  bordering on cruel and unusual!

I sit on the sideline, pretty helpless, trying to decide whether I should run out there and rescue him or yell constantly letting him know what he should be doing — but then MY voice would add to the confusing mixture of voices.  I go from wanting to cry to wanting to laugh.  I think it’s probably good for me.  I’m a control freak when it comes to my kids.  And when Zachary’s out on the field, I am NOT in control.

Zachary is doing so well.  He listens to the coaches.  He asks questions.  (But that darn mouthguard adds to his already hard-to-interpret speech!)  He is eager to do what he’s supposed to do.  He looks intently at that armband, tries to make sense of it,  and attempts to position himself correctly on the line.  (But usually before he figures it out, they’ve already yelled, “Hut!” so he just stands there on the line in the midst of the yelling. . . .)

Maybe defense is his thing right now.  Today he grasped the concept of watching that ball and running and pulling the flags.  He pulled 2 or 3 flags in today’s game!  In one play, he chased a guy and alone saved his team from getting scored on.  It was beautiful!  And he was proud.

He’s really enjoying playing football.  And I’m enjoying watching it — between the times of my cringing. . .

Go Iron Dragons!!  Go #19!!!


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by BILL on October 10, 2009 at 8:35 PM

    go #19!!! (GO MY GIRL KELLY) 🙂 🙂 Zippy — you the man!


  2. Posted by Melissa Coco on October 11, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    Kelly- You rock and You Are Mom of the YEAR! I love this blog!


  3. […] at football practice Zippy was awarded the red star for best defense at Saturday’s game!  The coach said Zippy was fast — and looked at the other coach and commented something […]


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