Autism Spectrum Australia

Kick off!

  • Posted: 28/08/2014
  • Author: Thomas Kuzma
  • Comments: Loading.. .

Good morning, afternoon or evening readers, I hope your week has served you well. I had the best weekend with my girlfriend, and I played Robo Rally with my brothers. A board game like that is no sport though; it’s a pure brain teaser that teaches you that the edge of your seat isn’t just for horror movies.

Sadly this week’s topic isn’t about board games, it’s about sports. Now before you change tabs, I assure you sports can be more than just another health message directed at shrinking that gut and getting a six pack.  Each sport has a variety of benefits. From team building to help with hand-eye coordination, sports can play a useful part in our lives. For those of us on the spectrum, sports provide an opportunity to hone social and communication skills by being part of a team. So what are the benefits of playing sports?  Why do we stop playing sports as we get older? Will Thomas win a game of Robo Rally? Let’s find out!

A Fatherly Opinion

So thinking about who to interview, I first thought of William Shatner, and then I realised the chances of him playing a sport are the same amount as me getting an interview with him (nil). So then I came across my father.

My father John has spent more than 15 years of his life  training people of all ages. He has benefited so many people through sport, and thought he had a soccer team when Babyboy Ben came into the world. Here is a snippet from our chattet on sport.

“I have been training people all my life, but you don’t realise you are training people, just like you don’t know you are being trained yourself. I started training kids when I was around 18 and I kept coaching, until I was coaching seniors at 26. Now I am 59 and have done some guest coaching for the last couple of years. As far as sports go I determined that it was either football or family – you could say I took the second F."

I have coached boys, girls, men, and disabled people. “Winning premierships are great, but the real highlights are when you are giving something to someone that didn’t have anything in the first place.For instance when the Manly Soccer Club and I coached the kids at a House with No Steps, we watched them grow from having no confidence at all, to actually enjoying and participating in a game. It was a huge highlight; I can close my eyes and see the look of joy on those teens’ faces."

“Sports can help you in many ways. You have health, exercise, you aren’t in front of a TV, you are outside, you learn to communicate with other people, you learn to rely on other people and that they rely on you, you learn what team work is about, that it’s more important than individualism and because of team sports, you are more willing to get accepted into society and society is more willing to accept you, because there is a give and take to succeed but more give than take."

“We stop playing sports as we get older because of the injuries we face, the speed leaves our feet and our bodies get older. Even though our brains stay active we can’t always do what our brain wants to do; our feet aren’t willing to run that far and quickly anymore.”

My two Cents

If you are expecting an extravagant story of how Thomas the striker from the small town beat the city kids in a game of soccer 5-nil, then get your head out of a donkey. Growing up I was part of several sports. From kindergarten until I was in year five I was playing soccer. One afternoon a week and Saturday morning every week through winter was occupied with me trying to kick a soccer ball. With my poor hand eye coordination Dad decided it would be best if I would be a fullback. No, that is not a waxing technique; full backs are basically the goalies guards. The striker and wings players played so well I rarely saw any ball time.

In year four I signed up for Gymnastics. After expressing interest in being super flexible mum thought it would be a great idea, plus some of the exercises could increase my hand eye coordination. At first being the only boy in a group of 40 girls was intimidating, but they made me feel welcome. I remember there was a kind teacher and a strict teacher. I always had the strict teacher…  Don’t tell Dad, but I had more fun with gymnastics in year 5 than I did in soccer.

During the Dragon Ball Z craze I eagerly joined up hoping to fight super-fast like Goku. The end result was such a waste of time I don’t wish to speak of it here.

Throughout all this, I learnt how to swim. Starting from the age of 4 I was taught by a woman who was as wrinkly as she was angry. It was as if a raisin took human form and was resenting it. She was a dynamite teacher though, sometimes quite literally. She had a great mission statement, it was if you don’t swim a lap, I will come over, beat you with my thong and then you have to spend time in the kiddie pool.

You know, I had a lot of great memories from playing these sports, I also learnt that feminism is a like a tiger; it’s fierce and you’d better not mess with it.

In Conclusion

I believe it was Homer Simpson who said “If horseracing is the sport of kings then surely bowling is a… very good sport as well.” I would like to think all kinds of sport have a small form of royalty in them, otherwise why would we have R Aces, Kaya King’s, Croqueen(-t), Jack and Field, Ten-nis. Hey look, a full house!

There are all kinds of things we can do to improve our lives, we can change our rooms around to improve feng-shui, we can buy a hot water bottle to let us sleep better during winter but the biggest thing we can do to improve our sense of wellbeing is to exercise and what better way to exercise is to play sports!

What we must know is that we can’t order others to play sports without doing anything ourselves. Families, businesses and friends should all play sports together. But don’t let your disability stop you. As you can see from my father’s interview, he taught teens with physical disability, Down Syndrome and autism. In my writing course I learnt from someone with cerebral palsy about Murderball, or wheelchair rugby. As we finish high school we leave bullies and people who torment us behind and now more than ever is the best time for us to take back the court!

So that about does it for another week in the Aspiresphere, hopefully I will be seeing plenty of you at Aspects sports carnival on the 18ths of September! I almost forgot, I will be doing the Ice bucket challange next week! In my Kuzco costume! So stay tuned for next weeks blog to see what happens! so be a good sport and don't throw a wrench (last weeks riddle) into anyones works!

With a big band around my head I swing through blue grass

I have been improvised with my buddies in the lower class

I was once an outlaw, but now I am said to be forgotten

but you can still meet me with Louis, Herb and Wynton

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Kick off!