Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Go Slammers

Chase and Jim

My two sons are on the same men's basketball team called the Slammers. Last week they won their first game. It was fun watching the two of them play, but their games weren't always enjoyable to watch. When they were teenagers they fought so much that I gave their basketball a new name-- "cannon ball" as in Go play cannon ball. I have to make dinner. 

Chase is four years older than Jim, but he has a mild form of autism. Learning something new is complicated for him and he is often frustrated. He has a competitive nature, and because he is older he feels he should be better than Jim at everything. I remember a lot of shrieking. Jim would try to explain a rule, for example dribbling. "Chase, don't hang on to the ball without dribbling. You have to learn the rules."

"You’re not smarter than me!” Chase did not like to be one-upped by his little brother.

I had no luck at being their referee. Round and round and on and on they'd go until I couldn't ignore them any longer. Did you ever try to get between two angry teenage boys? Hot and sweaty boys?  Little old mom couldn’t do much but yell or hide till it was over.  Sometimes I could distract them. “Anyone want a cold drink?”  Put vodka in mine!

Jim was a good kid, but he didn't have a lot of patience, and Chase needed chill pills. Gradually, we learned to separate them with team sports. Both boys liked baseball so we got them involved with Little League, and when Chase joined Special Olympics he was able to learn game rules.

I don’t know what I expected from them when I sent them out the door with a basketball—I mean all siblings fight—but our fights were made worse by the autism. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to see them play on the same team.