Editor’s note: “Join Joseph’s Journey” is a blog written by Joseph Gorin, a Special Olympics Southern California athlete and member of SOSC’s Board of Directors. Joseph, who has cerebral palsy, started training and competing with Special Olympics in 2003. Back then, he was a quiet kid who would barely look people in the eyes. Now, through sports training, he’s become a leader who advocates for people with intellectual disabilities throughout the world. This blog is a first-person account of his experiences and pursuit to become accepted by all.
By Joseph Gorin
I hope everyone is staying safe! I thought we could use some fun and talk about shape. Not body shape or how to get to get in shape. The shape I am talking about it is the shape of sports equipment I use with each of my eight sports and interesting insights of these sports.
First, is the latest sport that I learned: golfing… or as my mom calls it, goofing. Beside the little dimpled ball, you need golf clubs to hit the ball far away, chase it down, and hit it again and again, hoping it lands at the perfect spot. Golfing is a longevity game. To get your perfect swing to the perfect spot, it might take your lifetime to get it. So long live the golfers!
Next, is my favorite sport: softball. You also need gloves and a bat for the game. I pitch for my team. To play this sport, I need to throw a perfect strike, but not so perfect for the batter to hit. When I come up to bat, I hope I can hit the ball far away… but not in a fielder’s glove!
Next is bocce. I enjoy assisting my mom coach our Laguna Hawks team. The object is to throw the bocce ball as close as possible to the marker to gain points. There are a lot of strategies with this sport. Some people call this the “gentleman sport.” But, when we play bocce in my backyard, we are no gentlemen! We will go after anyone’s ball when it is too close to the marker. We are at war.
Now for my favorite sport: floor hockey. I love this sport. It is very exciting. You play offense one minute and defense the next. With so much action, it makes floor hockey a blood sport. I adopted a new athlete oath for this sport: “Let us win, but if we cannot win, let us live through the attempt.”
Onto the “the noisy one”—bowling. I love to coach our great Hawks bowling team. During practices or games, I want my team to make a lot of noise. Noise means pins are going down. And, we welcome anyone calling us a turkey. It means we bowled three strikes in a row!
Volleyball is next. It is one of the few sports where you are not allowed to catch the ball. Once you serve, you are playing “touch and release.” Most importantly, you don’t want the volleyball touching the ground on your side. This is a team sport. Your teammates are together on the same side of the court and ready to back you up. However, prepare for a spiking serve, flying from the competitor side. It is OK to duck, just remember to call for help!
Now, onto basketball, a fast-moving game that gets a lot of foul calls. Beware, if you have friends (especially girls) on the opponent’s team, you might get distracted if they call your name and throw you kisses…then they steal the ball from you!
The last sport is soccer. I love soccer. I gave it up because my mom (the coach) said we don’t have enough time with all the other sports. Any coaches out there want to sign me up with a bonus? I might consider jumping ship…
Back to the theme of my blog…what do all the sports I talked about have in common? Each sport uses balls and the shape of all the balls is ROUND. How do I choose my sports? It’s all about the shape!