Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today...but tomorrow's anyone's guess"

If you're a bi-polar family and have kids, and are thinking about signing them up for a sports team, you might want to hear a few of my stories before buying the uniform. (kidding, sort of)

I was very athletic and could play just about any sport there was or could be created in my imagination.

My parents thought I should play piano. I thought it was stupid because we had a player piano which played itself.

I loved playing baseball and was quite good at it. I could play anywhere on the field and I could hit any pitch anyone could throw.

That was all good except for the fact that I had deep emotional problems which made me the "wildcard" of the team.

I was thrown off of several teams for various things during my young sports life, like throwing the bat, fighting, breaking rules, temper tantrums: I was just a little delight out there on the field.

My parents were called regularly to pick me up as I was either benched or suspended on a regular basis.

I had a good coach for a while, got several trophies, and he managed to direct my ill temper into a passion for the game. He did that for all the kids, he was a natural at bringing out the best in all kinds.

But as I grew older I seemed to get worse and not better.

My parents, now a mother and stepfather, believed I should play golf. I liked golf, I just didn't like playing with them.

Most of the time my mother just went along on the course to get to the country club for her martinis. It was one divet after another for nine holes and it drove me crazy.

On the other hand my stepfather was a stickler for rules. I am not.

I hit a ball into a dense grove of trees and told them to take a stroke.

He decided I had to hit it from the trees.

It was so idiotic that I couldn't just take a stroke off that I began cursing, stomping around, and finally took an errant shot at the ball which hit a tree and came back and hit me squarely in the forehead, knocking me out cold.

Yes, it was always fun. Later I bent club after club, and nobody ever wanted to play me. I wonder why.

Back to the point, team sports do teach things to some people. The bi-polar may handle it a little differently though. And don't expect to drop off your irregular children into a situation they may not be emotionally able to handle.

All kids need to learn less about competition and more about proficiency. Be a part of your kids team, be there when your bi-polar kid can't handle dropping the winning ball or striking out or missing the easy lay up.

I enjoyed sports and was almost obsessed with playing. But I had that small issue of getting along with others and playing on a team.

Coaches and all people working with children need to recognize each child is different, but sports can be open to all. It's a great way to utilize that energy we bi-polars are often surging with.

But people have to be aware they are dealing with a bi-polar child/person. And then the hard part is finding out they don't even know what the hell bi-polar means and how to deal with it.

Break the barriers, talk about it, laugh about it; it effects every part of your life and that of your children. Help other people understand.

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