You know the saying about closed doors and opened windows. I'm not convinced this is always true. Sometimes when a door closes it just stays shut. Then you have to find another prepositional way out. However, I do believe in the ripple effect, the idea that our actions have consequences.
"Consequences" has become a scary word. This probably has something to do with authority figures, and the idea of "appropriate" behavior. But sometimes, there's a happy consequence to an event. This blog is such a thing-the result of a series of cascading decisions made after I received a book from my mother. Who knew a simple gift could have such an impact on my life?
This Saturday, Four had his final basketball game. It was rescheduled from the day our town flooded, and the kids had to be evacuated from their schools. Frankly, I don't know why they couldn't just let the season end, but I'm not the guy in charge.
Four was not in the mood to play. I'd reminded him about the game Friday night, but the cousins were over, he was having fun, and definitely did not get enough sleep. All this combined to create a very obstinate Four.
I got him in the van, but he complained the whole way to the game. I got him out of the van, but he refused to go in the gym. The Captain was the sole coach that day, so I felt like we couldn't abandon him. Only four other boys showed up from our team, so they really needed Four to play. But he was having none of it. He tried to run away, but I just gripped his wrist tighter.
"Man!" he asked, after a few minutes of struggling, "How did your hands get that strong?"
"You're not my first runner," I answered wearily.
I don't know why I still struggle with his behavior, when I understand the underlying cause. You know, he's AUTISTIC. Really, sometimes I'm the dumb-ass.
It became obvious from the insult-strewn, escalating bad behavior that he wasn't going to change his mind. The Captain didn't want Four's last game to be a horrible experience; we're overjoyed he made it through the season. The other coach agreed to play four-on-four, so our guys could compete. And then, we had the brilliant idea to ask Five if he wanted to fill in. He looked nervous, but I could tell he wanted to try. We went to the bathroom, and he switched shirts with his brother. I kissed him for luck, and went home with Four.
When Five got home, he gave me the play-by-play. He told Dad he was nervous, but wanted to try. He got a pass from Randy, and it hit him right in the chin, but he kept playing! He got another pass, and gave one back! He had a rebound! He shot for a basket, and it almost went in! On one of his trips past the bench, he yelled to the Captain, "Hey, I don't think I'm doing too bad!"
Five has two more years before he will play on a real team. But this day he played because his brother was unable, played although he was nervous, played despite an injury. And he proved that he is light-years removed from the tremulous boy who first entered school two years ago. I hope he will remember this day as a personal triumph.
For us, it was an unexpected, happy, consequence.