The Opened Door

Years after it had passed, George Harrison was asked about the pandemonium that greeted the Beatles at every performance during Beatlemania. The Quiet Beatle observed, “I don’t know who those girls were screaming for, but it wasn’t us.” I thought of Harrison’s comment while watching this video about an autistic boy’s magical performance for his high school basketball team. The video went quite viral several years ago, and for good reason.  Autistic boys who have only served as a team’s trainer are not expected to drain six three-pointers in a row. But he did. With each shot he sinks, the crowd and his teammates scream louder, jump higher. When he sinks his final shot at the buzzer, a mob charges the floor as if the team had just won the State Championships.

They might as well have. I do not think anyone was cheering for that boy. The crowd and the other players were cheering for themselves. No one, I am sure, had wanted to put him in that box of what he couldn’t do, but they had been told he couldn’t. They believed what they had been told, and as they shut the door on him and what he could not be, they shut it on themselves as well. If the door can be closed on one, it can be closed on all. It is only a matter of degrees that separates the autistic boy from the star player.

But with every shot he sank, the door opened a crack. With every shot he sank the girl who thought she wasn’t pretty enough, or the boy who thought he wasn’t clever enough, or fast enough, or rich enough, or strong enough, or bold enough all cheered for the light that open door let in. They were cheering the end, if only temporarily, to that stupid story that some people simply can’t, and that’s too bad, but it’s how it goes so be a grownup and get used to it.

It is impossible for us to imagine what we can’t do. It takes no time to plan what you won’t grow in your garden. That boy was not so magical. He was merely given a shot to remind everyone of what they already were, and he took it.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

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