Saturday, January 12, 2013

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Mikey's Goal

Last night was the last game for my eight-
year-old son's soccer team. It was the final
quarter. The score was two to one, my son's
team in the lead. Parents encircled the field,
offering encouragement.
With less than ten seconds remaining, the
ball rolled in front of my son's teammate, one
Mikey O'Donnel. With shouts of "Kick it!"
echoing across the field, Mikey reared back
and gave it everything he had. All round me
the crowd erupted. O'Donnel had scored!
Then there was silence. Mikey had scored
all right, but in the wrong goal, ending the
game in a tie. For a moment there was total
hush. You see, Mikey has Down's syndrome
and for him there is no such thing as a wrong
goal. All goals were celebrated by a joyous
hug from Mikey. He had even been known to
hug the opposing players when they scored.
The silence was finally broken when
Mikey, his face filled with joy, grabbed my
son, hugged him and yelled, "I scored! I
scored. Everybody won! Everybody won!" For
a moment I held my breath, not sure how my
son would react. I need not have worried. I
watched, through tears, as my son threw up
his hand in the classic high-five salute and
started chanting, "Way to go Mikey! Way to
go Mikey!" Within moments both teams
surrounded Mikey, joining in the chant and
congratulating him on his goal.
Later that night, when my daughter asked
who had won, I smiled as I replied, "It was a
tie. Everybody won."

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