Our summer issue of Breaking Barriers featured articles on recreation and disability. Here's one, by Wendy Wassink about the miracles God wrought to make it possible for her son Shawn to play hockey on a team. Other articles highlight therapeutic riding, summer camp, and more.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6: 25 and 26
I have long believed that we may choose to be parents but our Lord chooses our children, and he doesn’t make mistakes.
It used to be that with the first snow fall our oldest son would come to me and say, “Hockey mom, me hockey, watch me hockey?” As I smiled and said, “Maybe someday Shawn” I would silently cry inside because there was no opportunity to make his dream come true until we learned about Special Hockey International.
On August 25, 2012 my husband John and I received notice that I had forgotten to pay our hydro bill and that it had to be paid immediately. Because I made this mistake and to go to the hydro office immediately to pay the bill, miracles started happening. After I paid the bill, the Lord prodded me to stop in at the Cambridge Sports Park to enquire whether or not there might be available ice time (which is nearly impossible to get), and was told there was! (But not on Saturday)
The next day, again prodded by the Lord, I showed up at the Sports Park and asked to speak to the manager. He was available. I sat down, shared our dream, and then boldly asked him if he would be able to speak to the teams that had the Saturday time slots and ask them if they would be able to accommodate a special hockey team. Then we waited.
But, having faith, knowing how our Lord had provided for our very unique family so often during our marriage, we started planning, organizing and receiving replies from families interested in starting a new hockey team.
Within one month the Sports Park gave us ice time on Saturday afternoons, a team name, logo and jerseys were designed, the Capital City Condors agreed to let us join their organization and help finance our team for the first year, and application forms were created. With miracles piled one on another, by September 15 the BLADES Special Hockey Team was organized team. And we looked good!
When a couple chooses to become parents they wish for a healthy child, and I understand this wish, but they miss something special when they aren’t parents of a child with a disability. They miss out on the raw reality of life being brought to the bare bones of simplicity, broken down into small finite little events, because these events sometimes take years to be accomplished.
Special Hockey is just that—a hockey program for special persons, kids and adults who because of the uniqueness they were created with are not able to participate in a regular hockey program.
Winning is not the purpose of special hockey. Building friendships, exercise, social events, learning to be a team player and think of others instead of oneself, cheering for each other, helping someone when they fall down—this is our BLADES Special Hockey Team. As parents of the team members, we can come together in a place where the uniqueness of our children is accepted because no one stands out as being different.
As I type these words, I realize that our season has been filled with so many miracles. I smile as I recall the joy on faces of players who skated without support for the first time, the pride in our advanced players as they played so amazingly at all our games, the support of the staff at the Sports Park, the sponsors and fans who came to watch us each week, the joy on our son’s face as our team sang the national anthem before home games, the delight on the faces of parents as they watch their child. And I laugh with joy at the gift our Lord has given.