Monday, February 27, 2006

NUFCED by wikkidpissah


In case you haven't seen it, check this out:

I'm more or less a cryer, but you never know what'll start it. When I was little, I used to run headfirst into walls when frustrated unto anger. My peeps taught me to suppress the rage, but the sublimation would always cause me to burst into tears. During my rough & tumble days, my friends would laugh at how there'd be tears in my eyes as I pounded a foe into submission. I went through the entire process of my wife's death barely squeezing a drop, yet the love story in Forrest Gump (Jenny in the movie resembles my Mary physically and, like her, was molested as a girl & died young) gets me bawling like a baby. These days I'm more impervious than I used to be but, if something hits me, watch out.

This story hit me. Matter of fact, stories of triumph are mostly what get me anymore. Well, there ain't a story of triumph to top that of Jason McElwain's. Once, during the down time between some of my many young forays into showbiz, I worked with severely autistic adolescents in a program geared toward integrating them into society. After exhibiting some talent for handling them well even in their most escalated states, part of my job became to take them out to do errands for the group. I became truly endeared to my pupils when I saw how little patience they had for the patronizing pity of strangers. Most overwhelming interactions cause them to retreat into that mad, intractable world that "normals" are powerless to understand. Try to do something for them because they look retarded, though, and they'll smack you right in the face and won't stop 'til they draw blood. To work with them is to be as fascinated by their Mad-Hatter-on-acid world as you're likely to become envious.

Jason McElwain is but mildly autistic, but the inscrutable sureness in his manner sent me back to memories of my old friends. That he is incapable of processing joy as we do watching his AMAZING four minutes on the basketball court makes the story just that much more compelling. Fortunately, the lower level of his affliction allows enough comfort with human contact for him to be able to let others raise him on their shoulders, affording him the view from atop his world. This is sport, this is what it's all about. Get me a hankie.


Anonymous said...

Great story on Jason(Mr.Drayno), he was scorching the net. The truly GREAT stories only come from oppurtunity in which he received!!!
Truly a touching story.
Thanks for the link!


Professor Ellis D Trails said...

it got me too, wik

Before I moved out here I worked for Resources for Human Development and had the opportunity to go to some phillies games with some residents of our mental health sites. I knew a couple of people with autism and the excitement and emotion that came from sometimes the simplest of things always moved me. I actually got paid to enjoy a game with those whose outlook and point of view i sometimes envied.

We also had a softball league that was mixed with employees and consumers, those were some of the best memories I have of that job.

People with Mental Handicaps don't want to be treated any differently and that's something that is hard to grasp for some people. My youngest brother has some different problems that he has overcome to graduate high school and have a good job.

He came out to cali towards the end of last year and me and him had a great time.

This was a truly great story and reaffirms my belief that sports can be more than the BS you see around you today. It can be what I remember it being when it was still pure.

Anonymous said...

Well said Wikkid, was listening to Ordway on WEEI on Monday and he brought up a couple of points that I thought were interesting. Number 1 he stated that the majority of people who suffer from autism struggle mightily with the many things which most of us dont but the areas in which they have a talent or are good at, they really excell in.

2nd, he brought up the point that maybe this kid didn't receive a fair shot at making the team because of his autism. Supposedly, Jason tried out for the J.V basketball as a sophomore and was cut from the team. The coach did an honorable thing by making him the team manager.

Basically, Ordway questioned whether Jason had another opportunity to try out for the team in his junior and senior years. His logic behind that was if Jason had the ability to knock down 6 three's in 4 minutes, then how could he not be good enough to at least be the teams 12th man in his Senior season. Guess only the coach knows that answer.


wikkidpissah said...

snipey -

while he must have a beauty stroke to have done what he done, one of the hallmark characteristics of autism is singlemindedness (probably what's behind their fine development of the skills they DO have). i cannot imagine even a mild case like jason being able to repeat the drills so vital to basketball with anything resembling consistency.

wow, i havent heard the call letters WEEI in ages. are they still talk radio or have they gone over to sports (dont they have the sox games)? when i was in radio, the guys @ WHDH (parent station to COZ, where i worked) used to have a weekly saturday morning round-table breakfast with the EEI guys, including the legendary Norm Nathan (best broadcaster i've ever known) out at the Village Green on old rte 1. some of the best talkin ever done, i tell you. i tried to get them to do it as a regular remote broadcast, but we could never work out the terms. takes me back -