This I Believe

Abbe - Vancouver, Canada
Entered on September 25, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

When I came across this web site, I just knew I had to tell my story..It all began when my friend asked me if my 11 year old daughter would like to play on her daughters soccer team. I asked Sadie, my daughter and she said YES!!! We went and bought cleats and shin pads and the next evening we went to the field to join the team. This was a team of all beginner soccer players and they were all my daughters age. So off Sadie went and played her little heart out with all the rest of the girls. At the end of the 90 minutes of playing, I had my cheque all signed and ready to fill out and walked over to the coach and asked what would the fees be for this team. With Sadie at my side, he asked me if he could speak with me alone. At that moment, my heart sank and I asked Sadie to go play for a few minutes while I talk with her coach. As she walked away, the coach proceeded to tell me that when my friend had mentioned that she had a friend whose daughter would like to play soccer, she did not mention that this child was disabled. My heart sank and I was standing there speechless. You see, my daughter, my very able daughter has Down Syndrome. He then told me she could come to practise but on the day of the games, she could not play for she would be a liability to the team. I turned and walked away and glanced over at Sadie and with tears streaming down my face, I thought how do I explain to her that the only reason she cannot be on this team is because she had Down Syndrome. Well fast forward to today, I have put together my own soccer team, for kids with or without special needs and we call ourselves, The Blazin Soccer Dogs and our motto is “BELIEVE”. We have over 50 kids on our team and everything from uniforms to all the equiptment has been donated. We play once a week and we have 5 coaches and so many volunteers, they came out of the woodwork to be a part of this team. We got so much attention because I wrote to our local paper and told them my story, and the media had a hay day with this story. Well my daughter is now thrilled about our team and so am I. I have a commitee of three other moms and we meet once a week to make sure everything is running smoothly, and it is. When I look back on this journey, I cannot believe how far we have come and when did we do all this organization of such a huge team…but we did it. I could not let my daughter be judged for the fact that she has down syndrome and not be judged on that she was just as good as the other girls on that team. I was asked by a reporter what message I wanted to send out and my response was “the next time a coach see’s a little girl with Down Syndrome walk on the field to play beginners soccer, to look at her and say, Welcome to our team!”