Soccer Games and CrossFit Competitions
Jian does not back down from a goal. In her own words, “I’ll never give up!” I saw this first hand after we had been home for about 3 weeks and she took me on for our first battle of the wills. Three hours later I was questioning what I had gotten into. But it is a wonderful quality to have when channeled appropriately. She kept insisting on wanting to join a soccer team so I started calling around to check out our options. The league near our house told me that they do not allow crutches on the field, which sent my blood boiling, but I didn’t press the issue. I then spoke with someone from an Upward Soccer League, and they were very warm and accommodating, but we had already missed the registration deadline for Spring. Then we found TOPS soccer, which is designed for children who have any type of special need. I was a little bit nervous that Jian would feel that she was “cheating” by not playing the “real” game, but it has been great.
She is assigned to a Sidekick, who is a really good 12 year old soccer player. Each person on the team has a Sidekick who will assist her, run after the ball if it gets too far away, help encourage her and teach her the rules. When we were in China, especially at the orphanage with the other children, I experienced peace like never before. I often long for that feeling again. I got a small taste of it watching Jian’s first soccer game. Daniel and I were totally in the moment watching all the kids doing their best, laughing as they had fun and watching the coaches and volunteers giving of their hearts and time for this good cause. Jian’s two requests were that she wanted to wear a soccer shirt and she wanted to be presented with a trophy at the end of the season, which I hear that they are going to do for all the kids.
She also saw in the newspaper that WODism for Autism was scheduled for this past weekend. It is a CrossFit fundraiser to promote autism awareness. I told her that I was planning to do it, and she said she wanted to as well. I talked to her about it and showed her the movements that would be required in the competition. It was all upper body movements that she is good at (handstands, push ups, dips, core work) and squats. I showed her how she could modify the squats, but she chose to substitute with sit ups instead.
When we got there, she was a little bit overwhelmed with all the stimulation. She wanted to watch me do it first. Then she decided to go ahead and sign up. When they called her name, she didn’t want to do it anymore. Most CrossFitters experience a bit of performance anxiety, and it was funny to hear her verbalize that she was experiencing the same. She finally got on the floor and got started. When everyone was watching and cheering for her at first, she froze up a little bit. But she got into a groove and finished the whole work out. I could tell that she was very proud of herself. In fact, I believe she may have finished more rounds than I did!