A Minute to Myself (135)
A Minute to Myself (136)

Five and 0! Go Girls!

My daughter’s 7th/8th grade basketball team is five and 0 mid-season. Yeah! There are eight girls on the team, with one coach and one assistant coach (two dads, so they need two titles and a hierarchy). One of the girls on the team was a friend of my younger daughter’s, but I did not know anyone else on the team. When I was waiting to pick up my daughter from one of her early practices I talked with the mother of that friend. She told me that there is a girl on the team with some kind of developmental disability but that the coach is playing her like any of the other girls. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.

When looking at the team, at first you don’t realize that there is anyone who is different than anyone else. You need to pay attention, to watch this girl, before you realize that she is different in any way. She runs across the court like the other girls, but when they are playing either offense or defense, she looks kind of lost and distracted, and is physically awkward. But she stands where she needs to be and lifts up her arms when the coach calls out to all of the girls to lift up their arms. And she plays as much as the other girls.

Today, she was the last to make a shot during the pre-game warm-up—and she got the ball in. My daughter high-fived her.  During the game today, which was played four-on-four (it’s a four-day weekend here so I guess some people made the most of it by getting out of town for the inauguration), for the first time today the girls threw the ball to her a few times and each time she threw the ball back to someone on the team. Again, my daughter high-fived her, and I saw my daughter tell her how well she had played.

And that made me think of the classes that I teach which combine kids with special needs and “regular” kids. On the whole, if you observed the classes not knowing which kids had special education and accommodation plans you would have a hard time figuring it out. It’s not that only the “special” kids need help or a dose of a teacher voice to get them to settle down or focus, but so many of them do.

A world that acknowledges differences and doesn’t seek to separate because of them is surely an understanding, and maybe a compassionate, world. Something to consider not just for classrooms, but for life in general, across the globe.

The other day I got two new students in two different classes: one student is autistic; the other dropped out of school a few years ago and is back in the classroom, piercings, tattoos and all. I’m thinking that they both are going to need attention, whether they have the papers to attest to it or not. But I am also thinking that their acceptance by their classmates will be critical for both of them. Maybe I need to bring a basketball into the classroom, or at least a metaphorical one. 

Did I say that my daughter’s team is undefeated?



Wooo! Hooo! for your daughter's team and a BIG high five for their willingness to accept and include someone a little "different." One of my biggest pet peeves is how irresponsible adults can be when teaching children. They can have such a negative impact.
But kudos to these girls and their coach for setting such a positive example and giving the "different" girl confidence so she can excel in her life and reach her greatest potential.

Small Footprints

Congrats to your daughter and her team! Well done!

This was a lovely post! Acceptance ... what a compassionate gift!

Thank you for sharing this story!

Small Footprints


Well done your daughter's team!
I teach a child with autism. His class accept him as he is and always have. It's just the way he is to them and they wouldn't have him any other way.
What a wonderful characteristic to have in your daughter :-)


As a coordinator of an inclusion program in NYC , I am thrilled to hear the story about your daughter's basketball game. The benefits of inclusion in our society idealistically can only be positive for all. I am happy to hear that you are working collaboratively with a special educator. Inclusion can be a disaster when poorly organized with untrained general education teachers are left to fend for themselves with students who are so needy that no one teacher can possibly meet the demands. Still it is nice to hear, especially at the middle school level, that compassion still exists in some of our teens!


This is right up my alley.

Isn't it amazing how kids can be the best ons to help each other and also the same ones that can do the most damage to each other. It is a fine line everyone is walking.


Hi Laura.
This fits beautifully with the post you commented on.
This game plays according to the agreement/rules that includes everyone, this team doesn't only play to win. One of this team's core belief is apparently to make everybody a legitimate member of the team and they act accordingly and willingly and lovingly from the heart. The result speaks for itself.
Everybody wins.
I want the core beliefs in life to be like this and the rules and agreements to follow these core beliefs. I will have no desire to break these rules/agreements and they are serving all of us.
To reach inclusion and respect and love in your class room is awesome and not easy as these rules are indeed not easily to spell oout as on the sports field. Rules are part of sport and everybody accepts that, in life we don't see how rules serve us as they have mostly worked against us.
Justice systems don't serve most of us, employment rules don't serve most of us etc etc.


Nice to read something so positive. Good for all of them.


Nice!! It's good to win that's for sure. Sounds like they will be going on to win championships!

Pencil Writer

Sounds like a great coach! I'd better not start on the girls basketball coach we have locally. If anyone had any sense, or morals, he'd have been in jail years ago--and the key would have been thrown away.

But then I have a daughter who teaches school in another city. A few years ago she taught at a school where the social climbers were abundantly active and parents got in the way of discipline and learning. Now she teaches in a "inner city" school where the kids rarely even have parental interest, but she loves teaching there because the kids--more of them at least--are appreciative of someone having an interest in them as individuals. They give her grief sometimes about being white, but she loves teaching and it doesn't get in the way. And the parents who are concerned are awesome!

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

rockync, when I asked my daughter about the girl after the mother told me about her, she just looked at me as if I once again dropped down from dumb parent planet. You know, that place where clueless parents live.

Small Footprints, the best thing is that it came from them--these girls who are supposedly at the mean girls stage of life. Ha!

Vicki, well, not all kids are accepting. I have two students who have different developmental issues wrote in their journal entries how they used to be teased and how badly they felt. Both wrote that they worked on themselves. Really, it should have been the other kids.

Gwen, girls do not always behave wildly or badly!

morethananelectrician, I guess it's our job to encourage the good to come out and not the bad.

Wilma, a problem in the classroom is that every thing I say is interpreted differently. It comes out of my mouth one way, and then gets translated into myriad ways, like the old telephone game. The best I can try is to be as clear as possible so that my intent and their understanding are the same.

JC, watching our children rise to their own expectations is a wonderful thing.

Ricardo, last year my daughter's team won the championships! She just might have a winning touch.

Pencil Writer, the girls basketball coach in my high school made one of my students cry all of the time last year, until she quit the team. Why demoralize a child? Cheapshots for grownups are so devastating for kids.

Good for your daughter that she did not let those pushy parents push her out of her career path.

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