Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NDSS Times Square Video

I am proud to announce, for the 2nd year in a row, that Ben's photo has been chosen to be in the video that will be shown at Times Square in New York City, to help kick off the National Buddy Walk on Saturday, September 21, 2013.

Ben is a little brother, of two big brothers, who love sports.  In his young life, he has already been to more baseball, basketball, and football games as a spectator, than some people will attend in their entire lives.    While at his brother's baseball games, he loves to wear his umpire mask, squat down behind the fence and call balls and strikes with the umpire.  He has caused more than one umpire to turn around, ready yell at the person contradicting their calls, and you can instantly see the smile appear on their face when they see who the culprit is.  Sometimes they even come over to visit with Ben between innings, which makes his day.

He is no different with basketball as you can see here.

I knew it would be huge for Ben to get to play sports like his big brothers, but the reality did not hit me until he got home from his the first night of practice.  He ran in the door, gave me a huge bear hug and exclaimed, "Mommy, I a baseball player"!  This was the first year he was old enough to play, and was on our local t-ball team with his typically developing peers.

Did he need some extra help getting lined up to bat and getting his helmet on?  Yes.  Did he need some help staying focused in the outfield, when no balls were coming his way?  Yes. Did he need help keeping track of his hat and glove?  Yes.  But so did a lot of the other kids.   Did he need help hitting the ball, running down a grounder or knowing where how to run the bases?  No.  He had paid enough attention at some of the other games to know what to do.

So the next question is how did photos of Ben get selected 2 years in a row to be one of the 200 chosen to be in the video when there were over 1,100 submissions?

I have a theory.

The purpose of the video is to promote the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.  Unfortunately there are lots of people in the world today who don't realize that individuals with down syndrome are more like everyone else than they are different.  The first 4 years I sent in the cutest possible photo I could find, but none where chosen.  Last year I chose a photo of Ben playing his brother's drum set, because I thought it showed a person with Down syndrome doing something that many people would not realize they were capable of doing.  This year I chose the baseball photo, since it showed how much enjoyment he got from being included with his classmates.

My husband and sons wanted me to submit this photo instead.

It was taken just after the first photo and they felt it showed Ben's determination to hit the ball.  While I do like it too, a Mamma's heart almost always goes with the smile, and since I was the one sending it in, I got to choose. By the way they also wanted me to point out that the pink bat was not his.

To view last year's NDSS Times Square Video click here.  Ben is at 14:35.