The Sports Issue: A League Of Our Own

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I’m not even sure if she cared or if she was just trying to make conversation.   

“What sports do your boy’s play?” she asked.

“They don’t play sports.” is what I replied in what I thought was English, but by the look on her face, it clearly must have come out in something completely different.

“……(blink)….(blink)….then what do they do……?”

At this point I could have told her that they did any host of things both illegal and immoral and it would not have mattered because, clearly, she had stopped breathing. And processing life.

I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself on the receiving end of this blank stare after dropping the “no sports” bomb on people.  

Honestly, it blows peoples minds and I totally get it but maybe if for like just 15 seconds you could stop and put yourself in our place and then you could pick up your jaw and stop acting like you couldn’t be more surprised if you woke up in the morning with your head stapled to the carpet?  

Remember in ‘A League Of Their Own’ when Jimmy says “There is no crying in baseball!”?   Well, there’s no Patterson’s either.  So maybe just deal with it?


And no lots of other families who parent kids who process the world differently.  For lots of kids like ours, it’s simply not an option, either socially or physically.  And lucky for us, we have one in each category. 

We tried it one season.  And by one season I mean one and half games.  It is basically every trigger our oldest boy could possibly have rolled into one 90 minute session and then add a bunch of other kids and spectators.  Always a good time.

For our family, the combination of autism and sports is like what they say about beer before liquor, or is it beer after liquor,  either way you don’t wanna do it. 

And while it clearly seemed like the end of modern civilization to this poor lady that I was speaking to, I think the world will probably go on. 

At least I hope it does.

Let me start by saying this, I love that your kids play sports.  I really do.  

I know how much your kids get out of being involved in sports and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t jealous sometimes.  I wish my kids were right out there with yours.  I would give anything for my kids to have the friendships centered around team sports that your kids have.  

And here is the completely honest part, I’d give anything in the world if I had them, too.  We see it happening and we realize how much we as parents are missing out.  When it seems like everyone is at the ballpark or hanging out with their “team” friends and it only tends to make the disconnect between our lives and “the other” life seem even more vast. 

But the reality is that it IS our life and even though we don’t have bleacher tan lines to show it, we are doing ok.  

Your kids and my kids might not ever be on the same sports team but they will be in the same class room and so maybe if you promise to act like it’s not such a big deal that my kids don’t play sports and I promise to not act like it’s such a big deal that your’s do, than our kids won’t actually think it is and then there will be one less thing they have to worry about when they are trying to navigate growing up and learning how treat people and make friends and do life.  

And maybe if we get over it being such a big deal you won’t accidentally or on purpose make us feel more different than we already do and I won’t have to rhyme your name with bad words in my mind when I see you and pretend to smile.  

You will feel better knowing my kids aren’t absolutely miserable and I will feel better not making up situations in my mind where you are absolutely miserable and the world will be a better place. 

Oh.  And I couldn’t be rude to the lady.  I had to answer her question.  If my kids didn’t play sports then what did they do?

“Stuff. Mostly” 






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