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Mar '12

Wes Meets a Football Player

This week I learned about a service run by a group of volunteers at BYU called Athletic Connection. Every Saturday morning during fall and winter semesters they have BYU athletes come meet with special needs kids for an hour. It sounded right up Wesley’s alley. Wes LOVES anything to do with balls. ANYTHING. He is always asking to watch football on TV (too bad the season is ended), or to re-watch the YouTube video I have of him bowling, and he loves shooting hoops and hitting baseballs. He has a good arm, and good aim, too.

I checked to see how old kids need to be and was told that they have kids as young as five and as old as 41. So I thought Wes, age 4.5, would do OK.

Today the BYU women’s soccer team was scheduled to be there. We showed up a few minutes late, but the team wasn’t there yet. There was a good group assembled, a mix of moms and their kids (all the special needs kids, as far as I could tell, had Down syndrome like Wes), the kids’ siblings, and BYU volunteers.

The volunteers did a great job with the kids (I use that term loosely; there were adults with Down syndrome present, too). When the soccer team didn’t come and didn’t come (they never showed up!) they got the kids involved in a game of duck duck goose. Wes was happy just running back and forth endlessly in the big gymnasium, but once the game got going he joined in. This video shows Wes just as the game is breaking up to start a new game of hide-and-go-seek, but Wes didn’t catch on that the game was ending and he merrily continued anyway. I’ve never seen him play duck duck goose. He says, “Duck, duck, duck, duck, DUCK!” and then runs. He can run around that circle forever!

After hide-and-go-seek ended they started football drills. Since the soccer team never showed, they called in back-up: the uncle of the one of the boys with Down syndrome. Vic So’oto played football at BYU and now plays NFL for the Green Bay Packers.

He was great with the kids. First he helped them do some warm up moves, involving high stepping…

…and then they did some stretches in a circle.

They lined up against the wall and started football drills.

They did some drills involving running from the wall, across the gym, around a person, and back to the wall.

Then they repeated the drill, only they had to shuffle sideways.

Yup. Wes had a good time.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Wes Meets a Football Player”

  1. tara72 Says:

    too bad the volleyball team never showed! man! what a bummer! but it’s cool that So’oto came. Wes is so cute in those videos – and that last picture of him skipping is really cute.

    ya know, we had a friend who had a son with special needs and he did some really cool stuff with the football team in the fall. maybe this is the same program – I bet John will enjoy this. :) thanks for the great update post!!

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