Yes, it’s time for another installment of Tales from the Scale scale scale scale. Today’s tale from the scale is brought to you by the Special Olympics (They haven’t really endorsed this post, I’m just giving them a shout out). This tale takes us back about 5 years? Tanner was involved in soccer through the Special Olympics and we had been attending practice every week for months awaiting the big day when we would go to the actual Special Olympics to play against another worthy team.
Like most people I’m sure, I had never given much thought to the Special Olympics until I had a child with special needs. I was aware of it and figured it was a way for kids with challenges to take part in activities they might not have access to otherwise. We’ve all heard the stories about some of these other soccer & basketball teams; the ones where you hear stories of parents who get WAY too invested in their kid’s performance and go a bit nuts if there happens to be a child on the team who isn’t quite the sporting dynamo their child is. God forbid, they miss that catch or get caught traveling! I don’t get it at all, but apparently some people have less of a life than I do and feel their only alternative is to live vicariously through their 7-year-old. For these reasons, our kidlets are often not all that welcome in “regular” team sports. For our kids, it really is about having fun and quite frankly, sometimes they are just as likely to stop and smell the roses mid-field than make that winning goal.
Once Tanner got involved in Special Olympics, I began to see it for what it really was; a place for these kids to experience SUCCESS and ACHIEVEMENT in a world that persistently tried to remind them that life was just a whole lot harder for them than it was for the average kid. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a child who, just that very morning, may have struggled to tie his shoes, standing on a pedestal and proudly accepting a medal for his/her team. It’s amazing!
Because of my work schedule, Erik had taken Tanner to his practices so I hadn’t had an opportunity to really get to know the kids on his team. I had heard plenty of stories though; particularly about a boy named Mark. Erik had really hit it off with Mark’s dad and he always seemed to come home with some funny story about something Mark did or said. Tanner liked him as well and I realized I was really looking forward to meeting this kid!
We arrived at the field after making the hour commute to
By the time we made it to the field, my face was beet red, I’m breathing as if I just climbed Mount Everest, and I had managed to sweat so much I probably could have entered a wet t-shirt contest; a wet t-shirt contest in which I’d probably come in DEAD LAST, but a wet t-shirt contest none-the-less. Realizing I could have skipped the time I spent on my shower, make-up, and hair regime, I found myself feeling less like your average soccer mom beauty and more like the overweight, overheated behemoth I was. Oh well, who was I trying to impress?
It was then that we spied Mark and his family. Tanner takes off across the field as I try to act as if I’m not about to experience a heart attack or stroke and search frantically for a place to sit down that won’t collapse under my more than generous figure. I pretend to tie a shoe that is actually tied in double knots until I get my breath back and then head over to meet Mark and Mark’s family.
When I get there, Mark and Tanner are having a chat and Erik introduces me to his family. I’m guessing their ENTIRE family was there because I stopped counting relatives at about 8. They were a nice group of people and we made small talk until Tanner drug Mark over to meet his mom.
From the moment Mark laid eyes on me, I could tell…I was in for some trouble. He had a curious look on his face and my guess was he had never seen anyone quite as corpulent as me. With a sly smile on his face, he surprised my mother-in-law by slipping a hand inside hers and sidled up to within a few inches of me. As he looked me up and down he asked, “You’re Tanner’s mom?” I could see those wheels working guys…I knew this was probably going somewhere hilarious, but I had the sinking feeling I was going to be the proverbial “butt” of this joke…”What’s New?” I thought. He was looking at me expectantly when I realized I hadn’t acknowledged his question so I said, “Yes, you must be Mark! I was looking forward to meeting you!” Looking me up and down one more time, he smiled a warm, innocent smile and said “Hi!” Thinking I might make it out of this unscathed, I asked him if he was excited about the game. “Yes! We are playing soccer!” “I know!” I answered, “I hope you boys don’t get too hot running around out there!” When I saw his eyes light up at the word “running,” I knew I had made a grievous misstep.
What I didn’t know was that Mark was a closet Scientist. He thought about things, formulated hypotheses and tested those hypothoses to prove his theories and today…he had a few theories about me and what better place than the Special Olympics Soccer Match to prove/disprove those theories?. “Can you run?” He asked innocently, again giving me the head to toe once over with his eyes. My internal dialogue went something along the line of “Oh crap” “Hmm, yeah I probably could run if I wanted to Mark” and in a desperate effort to change the subject in front of his entire family, I asked him if he liked to run. Being the dedicated scientist he was, he wasn’t letting me off that easy. He would NOT be distracted from his research!
Ignoring my feeble attempts to distract him he answered “You can?” In my head I’m imagining what must have been going through his mind. I could see he was already trying to wrap his head around the unlikely picture of me hauling my pudgy form around the field and the curiosity was definitely getting the best of him. There was absolutely nothing malicious in his prodding; he was simply amazed at my size and wanted to see just what my body was capable of. It was Science pure and simple.
About this time, his family tried to intervene. I could see the horror on their face and the embarrassment in their eyes as they tried to get him interested in something else. They vastly underestimated his fascination with me. He shrugged loose and turned back to me; it was time for him to test his hypotheses and nothing was getting in his way. Persistent in his research, he smiled sweetly and said, “Go ahead, Run!”
Oh Lord, help me.
“Maybe another time Mark, It’s bit hot for me to be running around” as if I’d have no problem putting on a show for him if it were just a few degrees cooler, “I have to get Tanner ready, you guys have a game to win!” Changing tactics, he grabs my arm and asks “Can you jump?” Smiling nervously, I confirm that yes, I probably could jump if I had to; say if there were a million dollars on the table or a pile of scorpions between me and a turtle fudge cheesecake. I might be able to project my body into the air under those circumstances. Hearing this and taking it for consent to his little experiment, he smiles innocently again, eager to test this new hypothesis and flourishing an arm out to the side, in his best David Lee Roth says “Go ahead…Jump!”At this point, I happen to catch Erik’s eye. I can see he’s barely holding it together; his eyes are bulging from his skull and the corners of his mouth are trembling to keep from bursting out with laughter. He was fine as long as we made no eye contact, but as usual with us…once eye contact was made, all bets were off. Immediately I was hit by the Saturday-Night-Live-sketch aspect of it all (or was it more MAD TV?) and I began struggling to maintain my composure. Erik did an immediate about face and headed off for parts unknown so that he could release the laughter he’d been holding for FAR too long. If I weren’t struggling myself, I probably would have milked that betrayal for all it was worth. Instead, I turned back to Mark, patted him on the head, and suggested that maybe we’d have a family Olympics some other time and wished him luck in the game. Ignoring the obvious disappointment on his face, I made a quick get-a-way and a mental note to avoid him for the rest of the game. Sadly, I was never able to fulfill his desire to see an overweight woman perform feats that defied gravity and endurance, but I secretly hope he never lost his sense of curiosity and passion for the Scientific Method.