Four rules for your child athlete

I am not an athlete. Remember that scene from Eastbound and Down, where Kenny Powers tells the principal that he’s not trying to be the best at exercising? I’m the principal. But without the triathlons.


Our children, like many others, love playing sports. So far, they’ve played baseball, soccer, basketball and football. At the beginning, I struggled with how to help them between practices and games. What should I say before a game or practice? How about after? I knew that I didn’t want to convey that winning is everything. I also didn’t want to make it seem like sports should be all about having fun. It’s still a commitment, especially to your team.

After a few years, I settled on four rules. Or guidelines. Whatever. We go over these before any game or practice. I have no quantitative data to claim any success, but it sure feels like we are on the right track.

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Do I have a special needs child?


Joey after his surgery, almost 5 months old

Do I have a special needs child? The short answer is: I don’t have a damned clue. I’m not even sure what special needs means anymore. I know that when people ask questions about my child, they want to know exactly what the problem is, and that it’s been solved. I’d love to know that, too.

My son, Joey,  is 7 months old. He’s our third child, and since the beginning he’s been an adventure. During his first bath, I watched as he stopped breathing. Doctors, nurses and medics rushed in. Soon after, he was in the neonatal intensive care unit. A few days there, and a few more in the hospital room with us, and we took him home. About a week or so later, he was admitted to the hospital for “failure to thrive.” Simply put, he was losing weight. He had low muscle tone. Tests, tests and more tests. The first thing they hit us with was that he exhibited symptoms for Prader-Willi Syndrome. Googled that. Panic.

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