How we created the Field of Dreams
Back in September of 2007, my friend asked me if my daughter would be interested in playing on her daughters soccer team, for they were short players. This was a beginners team of all 11 and 12 year old little girls. I asked my daughter, Sadie, if she would like to play on her friends team, and she said yes. I took her to buy cleats and off we went the next day to their practice. As I watched my daughter blend in with all the other girls and run around and kick the soccer ball, I turned to my friend and said "wow, I'm a soccer mom" and very proud to say that.
After 90 minutes of practice and my daughter blending in and doing what all the other players were doing, I approached the coach with an already signed cheque, I was very eager to have her be a part of this team, for I could see how much she was loving it. With Sadie at my side we stopped the coach and I proceeded to ask him "how much should I make the cheque out for?". With a look on his face that I really can't describe, he turned to my daughter and said "could I speak with your mom alone?".
I looked down at Sadie and said "honey go play with the others on the playground and I will be right with you". I looked at the coach and that split second I knew I was going to hear something that would break my heart, and I was SO right. He told me that when my friend mentioned that her friend had a 12 year old daughter that would love to play soccer, she did not tell him that this little girl was disabled. I looked at this stranger with whom a few minutes ago, I had total respect and admiration for, and had this urge to punch his lights out, but I didn't.
He then proceeded to tell me that Sadie could come to practices and wear the uniform, but on game day she could not play for she would be a liability to the team. I looked at this man and could not believe what he had just said to me. Oh, by the way, Sadie has Down Syndrome and that is the only thing he was judging her on, not her ability which was in full swing with the others and as a matter of fact, she was better than a couple of the little girls also on this team, but he was only judging her on the way she looked. I was so disgusted with these comments, I was speechless. I turned and walked away and my friends just looked at me and said what happened, you look like you have seen a ghost. All I could do at that moment was cry. I pulled myself together and took my daughter home.
I told her on the way home that I was not too crazy about the coach and we will find a team that she will play on, and fast forward to today, I formed the Blazin Soccer Dogs! A team of acceptance, where everyone and everybody is welcome, and no one will ever be turned away.
We are free league, and will remain that way, thanks to the generosity of so many people in our community and across Canada. We were supplied with all uniforms, equipment and many other necessities to play soccer.
Our ages for the players are 4-8 for the Pups and 9-16 for the Soccer Dogs. Both boys and girls play on our team and we have many wonderful volunteers and 6 terrific coaches who help make this a very successful team. Most of our players are children with various types of special needs and as I said before:
EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
If you would like more information please contact myself, Abbe Gates. If you are interested in coaching or volunteering with the players you can contact Sheryl Palm. We are also very lucky to have Barbara Laird on our commitee.
Come out and have some fun!
- Abbe Gates