As parents, we have often noted the central and, perhaps, oversized role sports plays in our community, both in our schools and at home. Over the years, however, we have learned from experience of an additional aspect of sports in our community as well. Two Super Bowl-related experiences in particular taught us this additional piece.
We are blessed with an amazing son who has some special needs and attends one of the Sinai School’s wonderful programs. While he is certainly aware of and even somewhat knowledgeable of sports in general and football in particular, he is not particularly passionate about it. He is, though, very aware of gatherings on Super Bowl night and the fact that some of his siblings often are not home on that night. And, we and he are aware that he may or may not be included in someone else’s plan. Thank God he’s a happy go lucky kid and can roll with it.
Then came the first invite.
At the time, our son was still in a mainstream school and one of the boys in his class invited the entire class to a “Super Bowl Party” at his home. When our son found out, we would not be exaggerating if we say that he was glowing. The party - even only till half time - was the highlight of his month! The invitation was from thoughtful parents who presumably could never have known the impact such a gesture would have on this little boy’s month.
Then he switched to Sinai - and this year he got another invite. This time it was from a boy in the mainstream school into which he is beginning to integrate. The parents said that their son knows our son, they are having some boys over and their son would love for ours to come. It was again an incredible moment of inclusion. We were effusively thankful. The self-effacing parents gently minimized any imposition or effort on their part. Truth be told there were many, many people there. But, to paraphrase them, it’s just a win-win. Indeed! But the impact we have on others is sometimes not measured by imposition, rather simply by initiative; not by allotment, but by awareness.
Regardless of what it ultimately took, the truth is, however, that neither one of these thoughtful parents or their children likely imagined the uplifting impact a simple invite had on our son and on us.
To us, sports became not just an obligation of excess but also an opportunity for inclusion.
We have already thanked each of the parents personally, but we are writing this letter to encourage others to both imitate and initiate. While the Super Bowl may indeed have been a super opportunity, there are no doubt many other parents and children who can find and initiate many other opportunities for inclusivity. We can assure you that the impact these opportunities will have will exceed whatever you could imagine - for you, for them and for our community as a whole. Truly, a win-win-win.
With Tremendous Gratitude,
Names Withheld on Request