We Are All Disabled - Part 7


The Boy Who Couldn't Jump


I had a great  trip to the Malaysian Festival but after a long flight home, woke up with  paralysis of analysis - a condition that makes me think way too much about love and life and things that have no easy answers.

It all started when I was a kid and kept wondering why the sky was blue and then my father died and I wondered about him so much sometimes that it got in the way of me wondering about why the sky was blue.

William's Lake Jr. Basketball Team
Rick (31) and Don (13)
This morning when thinking too much set in, I went for walk in the park down the street.  The outdoor swimming pool is empty in the winter but it’s easy to imagine it being full of kids playing. The tennis court is quiet and full of puddles from the rain but if you close your eyes, you can hear a ball bounce. My favorite place in the park, winter and summer is the basketball court because there are seats nearby where you can watch pick up games. You learn so much about people from the way the play games.

This morning the basketball court, like the empty swimming pool was full of people you could only imagine because in the real world, in my neighborhood, everybody was at school or work leaving the park to musicians, children and squirrels.  I’ve always loved basketball but just don't have the skills, and can’t jump. I've never been able to jump. I've played wheelchair basketball with friends who somehow lift themselves and their chairs into the air. I've played pick games with kids who fly by me in the air, they too reminding me I can't jump. 

 Basketball was a big deal even in a small town in Northern Canada. All my friends played and I tried just could not get the dribbling part, or the shooting part and definitely not the jumping part. But I met my best friend, Rick Hansen on the basketball court in that small town. He was the star and he knew how badly I wanted to play.  He was patient teaching me the game and regardless how badly I played, he insisted on including me.

Following my short lived basketball career, in the days I was a want to be rock and roll star, I did think about adding an onstage jump to my act but then I remembered what happened on the basketball court and I settled into the idea that not all boys or even rock stars, can jump and land with dignity.




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