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Not Just a Boy: Cupertino High School UN Story Challenge

http://pustolovec.si/Photo Courtesy from Nick from nopsa

In seventh grade, I was a referee for AYSO, a recreational soccer league. As I stepped onto the field, I noticed that one of the kids was different from the rest of the players. I still remember the pair of glasses that covered his eyes. He also was easily aroused by the environment around him. Without pausing to think, I began to judge him from the very instant I glanced at him. I looked at him as inferior without fully comprehending his situation. I was, without a doubt, demoralizing a human whom I knew nothing about.

As the game progressed, I began to observe both the boy’s behavior and also the manner in which his teammates acted towards him. Although he did not play for an extensive time, it was quite clear that his team seemed to have a condescending attitude about him. Once the game-ending whistle was blown, I left the field with a mind filled with thoughts about what I just saw. By just having a disability, how does the boy suddenly become inferior to the rest of society? He was still a boy. His dreams and aspirations are similar to mine. He liked to play soccer and so did I. So, why was it that he was not treated with the same respect as I was?

Later that week, after talking to my friends at school, I realized just how ordinarily they used “retarded”. Every time I heard it, I was reminded of the boy on the soccer field and his plight. Every time that word sprang up, it hit me with a pang of disgust. I resolved to end this and began to correct my friends each time the word showed up. By doing so, I brought awareness not only to myself but to a group of people. Although it may not seem like a big deal, I truly felt as if I was helping others. I was 12 years old at the time and I am glad that I was given the opportunity to witness that specific game. This eventually set off my mission to stop people from further demoting the mentally disabled.

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