Thursday, 6 December 2012

Who is the greater sportsman?

Occupational therapy is all about assisting people to fulfill their life goals and live their life to the full within the constraints of the circumstances of their life. An important part of the life of any child is that of sports. For someone who is disabled, the area of sport is still a possibility, with the appropriate adaptations to enable the person to participate in a sport that meets both his interests and level of ability.

Sometimes a goal or dream of a person appears to be an impossibility. Does that mean that we should put him down, degrade him and force him to give up on his dream or is there a way to help another achieve despite the seeming impossibility?

The video below provides some powerful lessons.


What can we learn from this video?A child with Cerebral Palsy had a desire to be involved in wrestling. One can argue that this is impossible, unrealistic and he should just wake up and change his dream.  Or one can simulate all kinds of variations of the wrestling dream. One could place him in his wheelchair in a cinema, specifically positioned so that everyone complains that he is in the way and have him watch a wrestling match on the big screen. Some would argue that this gave him a wrestling experience but did it?

One could say he is unable to walk so lets take another child to his bedroom and have the child engage in play wrestling while the CP boy lies on his bed. It might also be a form of wrestling. 

One could say, well, the child can not do much so lets go to a small room in the school, probably the size of a store room, make sure there are no windows, no sports atmosphere, no space of any audience, put a mat on the floor and discuss what wrestling is about.

We can continue a list of options, but notice what those involved in this match did instead. They made sure the wrestling match took place in a proper stadium, with an audience who were interested and watched the entire event. There was even a group of cheer leaders to give the appropraite atmosphere. They made sure the stadium was large, spacious, airy, with the appropriate outfit for both boys. Every detail was taken care of as it would be for any regular wrestling match.

One can argue that the "able bodied" boy was the star of the show, and let us look at a few of his strong points. Firstly, he did not state he would wrestle the boy with CP provided he got up and began normally. He did not say if he thinks correctly, then he will be able to wrestle like any other boy of his age. He did not say he is not touching the boy and please make sure all his skin is covered. He did not say he was scared to move the boy with CP. What he did was to get down to the level of the boy with CP and to assist him to achieve his goal, i.e. to win a wrestling match.

We can stop at prasing the kind hearted actions of the able bodied wrestling captain, but we have to remember that this match could not have taken place or provided so many lessons, unless there were the boy who has CP. It could not have happened unless the boy with CP identified his goals and desires and communicated it to someone, someone who obviously listened and heard him. It is very inspiring to see how the boy with CP had the courage to hold onto his dream, no matter how it might look for him to participate in such a wrestling match.

There are many more lessons we can learn and we would like to hear your comments. 

If it is of interest to you to learn how we can apply the lessons from the above video to our own lives, please do book Shoshanah to give a talk / facilitate a workshop on achieving our dreams and goals. Let us learn together how to help others to achieve their goals too. There is plenty of opportunity in the world for each of us to be successful in our own unique way. 
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