Thursday, May 29, 2014

The player

There is a tall, gangly teen on the basketball court outside my window.

He carries his right forearm up, his arm bent at a 90-degree angle against his body, his hand partially fisted. Sometimes that hand flaps.

His whole right side is stiff, it doesn’t move the way his left side does.

He bounces the ball with his left hand, shoots with the strength of his left arm and hand alone.

Sometimes after sinking a hoop he claps jubilantly.

He keeps shooting. Over and over and over again. From close up and far away. He lopes exuberantly around the court, unbothered by the unevenness of his gait.

He doesn’t give up.

When he leaves he walks past my window. I wave and he waves back.



I liked this post, but won't allow you to slip into despair, as you can do can something about this.

What you've depicted above is called "Hemiplegia cerebral palsy" --just like David Saxton's boy.

Now, like me, you were probably saddened by the fact that this teenager is outside your house and shooting hoops all alone. But, I also see a great opportunity. For instance, you could go out there and have a game of 21. However, you may need to adapt the rules somewhat. Afterwards, maybe he might want to hold a fundraiser at his school to create awareness? Maybe, a phys Ed teacher would be willing to help?

All I know is, "You won’t know until you try."


Hi Matt -- I guess I didn't convey myself very well. I didn't feel any despair or sadness.

I felt energized and empowered by watching this kid do something he loves, and do it really well even though he only has use of his left hand.

I love that to wave and he waves back ;)

Dear Matt,

This individual may have hemiplegia/hemiparasis, however, it may or may not have been caused by cerebral palsy. There are many other conditions that cause hemiparasis. When I read this post, sadness it not what I felt. Louise depicted the joy the boy had when he scored, the fact that his gait did not bothering him. He may not need adaptation to rules or support to play the game he seems to love. Just something to think about.

All the best.

Dear Anonymous,

I more then appreeciate your position, as I stand corrected, and will forever keep your words in mind. Thank you for writing. Truth be told, "You sound a lot like myself before I started reading BLOOM."

I am always pushing the limits of my disability, and love the fact that the boy in this story didn't need a crowd to play basketball, as he only out there for the sheer love of the game.

Not needing support, or an adaption of the rules, is a wonderful thing. I was merely trying to be inclusive to all people, of all abilities.

I also hope that the young man in this story tires other sports. Who knows, maybe he'll be a paralympian one day. As far as I am concerned, "He already has the heart of a champion."

Yours truly,

Matt Kamaratakis