One of the most unexpected decisions I’ve made as a parent of a complex ADHDer was the decision to enroll him in a special needs sports league. That was NOT where I thought I was going to end up when I married someone who played football in high school. And like most ADHDers, even complex ones, he doesn’t look or seem like someone who couldn’t function in a regular youth sports league. He doesn’t have a physical disability, beyond some fairly common coordination problems, and he doesn’t have an intellectual impairment.
What he does have is an exceptionally tender heart and a revolutionary way of looking at the world, which I’ve learned isn’t uncommon in complex ADHDers. My son hates competition. I spent years trying to school him in why games are fun and that it doesn’t matter who wins or who loses. He didn’t buy it, but that didn’t stop me from trying to sell it. One day, a few summers ago, it finally clicked for me. On that day, my husband was watching the Red Sox play and my son was asking him to turn it down because it was too loud but he kept cheering on both teams. I stopped to watch him. “Go Sox! Good try! Way to swing the bat! That’s ok, they caught the ball, but you did a great job! Go Yankees, way to run the bases! Good try even though you didn’t catch the ball! You’re doing amazing!” He was full of love for the GAME and the PLAYERS and their efforts. I was humbled. And then nearly in tears when he turned to me and asked, “Why would someone even INVENT a game where some people win and some people have to lose?”
Wow, did I feel small. Here I was, trying to teach competition while my kid was trying to teach me love. At that moment, I began listening to what my kid needed. And what he needed was to play ball without some crazy invented idea that someone has to win and someone has to lose. So we signed him up with this amazing special needs youth sports organization called Buddy Baseball and every spring and every fall, he’s out there cheering on every single player from both teams. I thought his ADHD+ was an obstacle and we would have to give up on sports. Instead it was an obstacle we just had to work around in order for him to play ball!