OC Life reader Belinda Parry-Jones got in touch with us last week to ask if she may use us to give a big shout out on behalf of her young son, Nash. Nash has Autism and the Parry-Jones’ had anguished over whether or not to put him in a team sport… The following is Belinda’s lovely piece and is OCL’s privilege to share. Enjoy.
"I would like to say a big thank you to all the amazing coaches, association members, mums and dads and most of all your kind hearted kids.
Starting your child in their first team sport is always a hard decision but for us it was one of ups and downs; we weren't sure whether we made the right decision to put our son into his first team sport. However, we relented and this season he started football with Bloomfield tigers in the under 6's and we couldn't be happier with the final outcome.
At points through the season, we considered pulling him out as he just didn't seem to get the concept of the game. But he was enjoying being on the field and the fact that he was learning how to play in a team and build friendships was worth keeping him in the sport.
Nash has autism so for us it was never about being a star player, more just learning how to play in a team sport. During the season we have played many teams and shared tears of joy when he would make a run or join in on a tackle.
His coaches Matt and Nathan and manager Sammy have been amazing and worked with Nash incorporating the "group plan" into the games and training. Nash is working with Odeep and learning that it is important to follow a group plan when working with others and that sometimes, although we can get distracted, continuing with the group and following the plan can lead to everyone having a good time and accomplishing what they wanted to do.
This past Sunday [August 14] was by far the best experience Nash has had so far.
He, like all players, has been eager to get a try and that was made possible by his coaches, CYMS Gold Coach Dean Lettice for your patience and understanding, the parents of both teams and all the players and it was an experience none of my family, especially Nash, will ever forget.
Nash ‘scored’ his first try when playing against his team mates after the first team forfeited. He wasn't sure what to do so threw the ball at the line, he was awarded that try. His second was in this game and he put the ball down this time and the look on his face and the pure joy was a tear jerking moment.
It really melted our hearts during the game against CYMS gold as all the players chased Nash and only ‘just missed’ him for a tackle which made him feel like he was so fast when he was running. Nash tried to offload the ball but was soon passed the ball back to score another try. His final try was one scored under the post.
This experience was something that not only made Nash feel like a star, but the compassion and inclusiveness that was shown by all is something we should all strive for. The children all understood the importance of making everyone feel special.
The coaches do an amazing job and through these sports as they help to teach our children that it's ok to be different and that everyone has a place even if they learn differently.
So thank you.
Thank you to the association members, your hard work behind the scenes is very much appreciated.
Thank you to all the coaches, you have such a positive impact on our kids.
Thank you to the parents for teaching your kids compassion.
Most of all thank you to the players, you are an amazing bunch of kids.
It's days like this that make us know everything is going to work out fine.”
Belinda and Shane Parry-Jones