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A TRUE HOME-RUN!!!

View the NEWS STORY click here [VIDEO] A-LEAGUE featured on KNBC Los Angeles Cal!

Well our GROUNDBREAKING SEASON is off to a great start! Sunny San Dimas was a great backdrop for OUR FUN!! Its so exciting to me that this is happening right here WHERE WE LIVE! How lucky are we? Hopefully this is the PRECEDENT for things to come!! How about a day when autistic children and adults can choose their sport and play?! It is coming Ladies and Gentlemen…it won’t be a simple task. Just a task that is LONG OVERDUE and simply NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

Big PLANS indeed! A conversation we will “table” for another time! Today it was all about “Picture day” AND Game #1!!! WOO HOO. We met up early this morning and smiled for the camera ! All kids wrangled and arranged! The photographers could’nt “table” their need for PERFECTION…and they wanted shirts tucked and hats straightened! One assistant kept asking me to “fix” Wyatt’s hat. Wyatt does’nt actually like the hat…so invariably it gets all turned around. I felt NO NEED to straighten the hat. I replied,”Thats OK thats the way he rolls.” Our manager Matt gave me a knowing look and chimed in “We like it like that!” AND WE DO!!

The younger division had their game at 10:00 a.m. The older division followed at 11:30 a.m. That is the scheduele for ALL the Saturdays of the season ,with the exception of April24th. “A-LEAGUE” will have a buy that day…as most of us will be at the Pasadena ROSE BOWL for the AUTISM WALK!

Come on out to the games & the walk to SHOW YOUR SUPPORT! We had a great turn-out. The Dodgers had a few kids missing …but the rest were ready! Lora Mancini’s ANGEL TEAM is always out in force! Looking at the sea of red Tim Roe League President said , ” It looked like there were more spectators at the a-league field than the rest of the Ballpark! ” That is the ENTHUSIASM we feel …having OUR FAMILIES at the Ballpark on a sunny spring day!! It’s UNDENIABLE!

As the “Youngsters ” game unfolded a VERY telling thing occured. Over half the players decided to ” take a pitch” as opposed to using the tee!!! WOW…This is just game 1 …looks like we are going to be getting some great results! When confidence levels rise…no telling WHAT will be in store!! Each team takes two at bats and, when fielding —players shift periodically getting the feel of the whole DIAMOND!! All players are working well! For the YANKEES... Kory B. was essentially a vacuum. Fielding everything within his reach! Elijah L. from the ANGELS… HIT a LONG Groundball to centerfield which earned him the GAMEBALL! Awesome IDEA Coach SCOTT!!

Next-up the “Oldsters” had their debut! They were ready for business…many players can really connect at the plate! While some need literal “shadows” to guide them through…ALL GOOD! I roll closely with Wyatt as he finds his stride. Today he used the metal bat. Mostly he “TAPS or POINTS” at the ball atop tee. With help he swings. When he tried today…#3 was the charm because after 2 misses, he PROMPTLY Flicked the ball WITH HIS 4 FINGERS!! Which sent US round the base path. Me laughing at the practicality of “My BOY”!!

The BRAVES had a good turn-out today. The Penny TWINS had their usual game-faces ON! Delightful SMILES… as they skip across the infield making their plays! Southpaw Eric, HIT some great LINE DRIVE SHOTS! The DODGERS had a GREAT START… when Zach’s MOM, Nicole prompted the boys on “Good DUG-OUT Vibrations! ” Encouraging team spirit…SO IMPORTANT!! The DODGERS bring it with POWER, when the Zapata TWINS are “in the house”! These boys can HIT! Helps having a great Dad & Big Brother to mentor them. As big brother Michael said today, “Their training is paying off!” Both Nick and Steven powered HIGH FLY BALLS out to the fence. The “Homerun Aura” was lingering.

The next time Nick was up …a great cut, the pinging sound… and the HIGHEST of HITS! Then a ONE-HOP & DROP right OVER THE FENCE. The crowd went nuts! A HOMERUN!! THE HOMERUN!… That NICK had predicted in practice ! During the KNBC story, TWINS Nick and Steven were interviewed. I had the privelege of listening in! The footage never made air …which is a shame! The producer asked the boys to describe what they were enjoying the most about “A-LEAGUE.” Immediately Nick said,”HOMERUNS!” Priceless! His brother Steven agreeing then gesturing with his arm… a ball soaring through the air! BEYOND PRICELESS! We need to get our hands on that prophetic footage.

VISUAL THINKERS! Nick so clearly saw that HOMERUN as he spoke about it at Wednesdays practice! Today, Saturday GAME DAY…He made it happen! Thus earning his “GAME-BALL!” I know another visual thinker…and that is Lora Mancini! She visualized the A-LEAGUE, and today it is a REALITY.…………A TRUE HOMERUN!!!!!

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PRACTICE MAKES….

PERFECT! That’s how the SAYING goes, anyway. Isn’t it funny that we always say… we aspire for perfection? Then we turn around and say, NOTHING IS EVER PERFECT! Talk about a safety net. Even with our language and sayings we make room for our OWN imperfections! We need to be that forgiving with EVERYONE in this regard. In ALL SPECTRUMS of life.

This is what is SO BEAUTIFUL about this “A-League”, Lora Mancini has implemented! Our kids are playing at their own SPEED! Their coaches will not “Ride them.” Their team-mates will not “Down them.” Everyone is out there doing what feels GOOD! For most , being on the DIAMOND alone is monumental!! That ALONE…FEELS GOOD!

NOW….if we can JUST get some of the parents to take off their HIGH EXPECTATIONS HAT!!! lol ! Such as life! It is very hard to de-program years of striving for perfection. The “unattainable!” Having a child on the spectrum should massage some of that “INSTINCTUAL perfection-striving” out of you! At least if you want to live a less stressed LIFE. What a conundrum…this condition called HUMANITY!

So Wednesday’s practice was fun for most! Wyatt was not in the best of moods. He wanted to do a preferred “self- stimulatory behavior”…which DID NOT involve bats & balls! Some days he is not as receptive as others! When you deal with autism you realize that sometimes that’s just the way the ball bounces! The sun was genuinely warm…& it really felt like spring! FINALLY! We rolled out our fence and away we went!

Scott Norrie a FANTASTIC SAN DIMAS resident has dedicated himself to the A-LEAGUE this season! He is such an inspirational coach…really doing the right thing! Taking the time to devote to 4 teams is PHENOMONAL! (Aside from his JOB, FAMILY & other coaching commitments!) While I am speaking of his family… & what giving people they are! I should mention Scott’s daughter’s Kayla and Brianna have been side by side with their DAD helping our kids!!

Yesterday we had the whole SAN DIMAS High School J.V. Softball team “mentoring” the league. I can’t express how much this makes my heart swell! Each girl buddied with our players …engaging them socially and keeping them on point with game-play! SO COOL! I will tell you just about EVERYONE had a smile from ear-to-ear!

Our local news station KNBC filmed and interviewed randomly! Very interesting to see kids so …UNAWARE OF THE MEDIA! Refreshing really!

Kids just wanna have FUN! ALL KIDS ! Thanks to ALL the great people that have “PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS” for these awesome kids! As time goes on we see kids really finding their “Niche” so to speak! We have a 16 yr. old player named Cosmo on our DODGER team. It has become clear that Cosmo pays extra attention to home base! When the TEE is used for hitting, then removed for running…whomever is nearby “handles that.” Cosmo will REPLACE the TEE over the plate each and every time! He places the black base of the tee, over HOMEPLATE. Lining it up EXACTLY! With NO WHITE showing…he places it until it is PERFECT!

Which is EXACTLY what Cosmo is a PERFECTLY beautiful person through and through! Striving to be what WE ALL FEEL WE MUST BE………

PERFECT!!!

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BRAVO to S.D.L.L.Cal!!

So “OUR” Big Day in San Dimas went off with only one “hitch”…

Our older division was unable to play our 2 inning round robin. We will scrimmage in practice this Wed.! The younger division had their chance and they took it!! Lora Mancini reported to me it was great!” THEY ALL STAYED IN THEIR POSITIONS!” lol… So FUN! Unfortunately I was unable to witness that! The teams also had 2 chances to bat! Some players can take a pitch, while others will use the tee. PERFECT for our Players! So glad to hear they had fun! First games …THIS SATURDAY!!

The Opening Ceremony was Awesome…Jay Johnstone gave a very inspirational speech and threw out the 1st pitch! The league President Tim Roe also gave a nice speech with several special things to say about the “A-LEAGUE“! Wyatt’s teammate and my “How’s your Heart?” friend Kevin Parker recited the little league pledge! Chills and goosebumps a plenty!

They even had a raffle. Each manager passed out tickets to the players. When they called out the 1st number for the “A-league”…what do you know!? Wyatt was the WINNER! That was his favorite part of the day running into home plate with me encouraging him every step! The crowd cheering and his chirping laughter…my eyes are tearing up as I recall it!

San Dimas Little League is enjoying learning about their autistic players…and they are a quick study!

The A-league teams were not made to wait…and were placed at the 1st base area which could not have been better! With the large crowd and all the excitement our kids FIT RIGHT IN! It was truly awesome. I feel such gratitude to ALL THAT HAVE MADE THIS OUR REALITY!!

So after the opening the fun continued League sponsors had booths. Autism Spectrum Therapies gave away nice tote bags & piggy shapped stress squeezers, which were a big hit! They are a great resource located right here in my current hometown …Monrovia Cal. www.autismtherapies.com I sat and spoke with all that would listen about Autism! So many wonderful adults and children. So many stories and points of view! Very interesting indeed…this AUTISMHWY!!!

After a few hours , Wyatt was ready to leave with his Grandmother Louise. He enjoyed having both of us at the field with him. I am very lucky to have my Mother’s support with Wyatt. Extended family members really “step-up” for our kids! So they left and I got my “paint kit” out …my ruse. The night before I had decided to paint out some “FUN-FACTS.” Little KNOWN but obvious facts about AUTISM. Did you know that …autistic people can’t filter out sounds?! Did you know that the brains are wired differently?! etc…etc…ETC. I had decided that I would paint faces while I talked to them about AUTISM!

So, I sat there painting …cute little cheeks, forearms and hands with baseballs, hearts, Angels-A’s,NY logos etc… It was so comical when I told them that I would paint their face for free! ” FOR FREE ?”…is what I would hear them say in DISBELIEF. So funny! The little looks as they ran off to check with their Mom’s, if it was okay to get” SOMETHING FOR NOTHING”! Well ladies and gentlemen WE ALL KNOW …everything has a price.

Let me see … I have this ability to attract this crowd and I have a very TIMELY MESSAGE ! Hmmmm…GUESS WHAT? My afternoon was all about “AUTISM 1.” I will add, the 01 on…way down the road! Such a good start it was though! The kids I encountered this weekend were very receptive, polite and caring! I was so happy to see such cool kids! They all are aware of the A-League . Some knew about autism while others were happy to stop and learn about it! I could not have been MORE IMPRESSED!! Some of these youngsters are in the Buddy program. Those buddies are the mentors we will NEED!

The Friends we will ALL NEED as we travel on the AUTISMHWY!


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“TAKE ME OUT…

…TO THE BALL-GAME”!?

Wow, something SO COOL is about to take place here! In our corner of the sandbox! “A-LEAGUE” Little League ! Autistic players make up a FOUR TEAM League! Here in San Dimas California and Opening Day is THIS SATURDAY March 13th at 9:30 a.m. www.sandimaslittleleague.com So much fun in store. San Dimas Little League blazing a trail! NICE!!

What, is really NICE!? Is LORA MANCINI! Mother on a mission. You’ve got to love that! Lora had a vision…and it is about to materialize! Lora did all the “leg-work” it took to get this together! Quite an awesome task she has accomplished! Along with League President , Tim Roe and the efforts and donations of many wonderful people. Talk about ripple effect! They may never even realize how many people this will help. She is on a fast track to making this something autistic kids can look forward to. 50 kids this season! So… 100+ PROUD parents and extended FAMILY MEMBERS as well! Lots to look FORWARD TO!!

INDEED! “My Mantra”…Our day is at hand! The awareness IS GROWING! This is really a great indication of that. The fact that the local news and papers have featured “our kids” IS HUGE! Quite exciting for the adults. The kids just want to play! I am sure many of the parents I will be enjoying these games with, had given up. Given up on the idea of living at the ballpark every season. I know I had. So a bit of that dream is BACK!! Yes! All parents want to do a little “vicarious living!” WOO-HOO! Go TEAM!!

At the last practice one of Wyatt’s team mates Kevin P. noticed my “puzzle-heart” bracelet. Knowing it is an autism support icon. He asked me “How’s your Heart?” All throughout practice…he had also informed me that my response should be “FINE.” Such a thoughtful and UNIQUE BOY ! As practice went on I’de hear…”How’s your heart?” My response ,(as scripted) “Fine!” Kevin is so… RIGHT! My heart is better than fine!! When you open your heart to these awesome people, you’ll grow in a whole new direction! So off we go… to the BALLPARK! Hearts full…smiles planted! What an amazing experience this will be and I feel so priveleged to be a part of it.

Wyatt is surprising me so much with his “game-play.” My sweet boy is giving it his best, despite his deficits! I can see him trying to make me PROUD…and really what more could you ever want from your child?

Photos Courtesy of www.sgvtribune.com – READ THE FULL STORY HERE

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