I have two passions in my life: family and sports. I always figured that once I started my own family, sports would be a big part of it. I imagined teaching my kids all about the games and teams I loved and having them gravitate towards the same interest.
My son Ryan was two when he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Later evaluations would suggest Asperger’s and a healthy dose of ADHD. After the initial shock dissipated, I found myself wondering if I’d ever be able to share my passion for sports with my son. He struggled with poor coordination, low muscle tone and a difficulty focusing, which kind of makes it tough to watch a 3 1/2 hour football game. His early interests were more like fixations, usually on inanimate objects — toy cars, garage doors, spinning tops, etc. So it came as the most pleasant of surprises when he took an extreme interest in my most favorite of sports — hockey.
Hockey has been part of my life since I was four years old and was first taken by my dad to see a professional game. It gave me my first passion, the first thing I was good at, a way to fit in when I was a socially awkward, painfully shy, gawky teenager, an instant bond with total strangers at my college, and today, a career (no, not as a player — I wish!). And now this sport has given me the greatest gift of all: a way to bond with my son, and to share experiences that I didn’t always believe would be possible for us.
The sport of hockey has been intersecting my path at key moments and in key relationships my entire life. Today, it is one of the few activities my entire family can enjoy together.
I spend a lot of time online. I mean a lot. A good deal of it is work related, but I also read a ton. I have been inspired by incredible bloggers across a wide variety of subjects, but none more than those writing about sports, and about dealing with a child on the autism spectrum.
You’ll find here stories of my family’s experience with autism, and how a shared love of a sport has brought our family — Ryan, his younger sister Riley, my wife Veronica and myself — closer together during some very challenging times.