Friday, August 13, 2010

In the world of Timmy

Today was an ordinary day at Camp Spofford, I woke up at 7:52, and, after realizing that the rest of my family had ALSO slept in until 8 minutes before breakfast, I proceeded to rouse them from their oh-so-sweet vacation sleep.  I'm cruel, I know.  I donned my sweatshirt and jeans (typical 'morning' wear in New Hampshire) and walked down the hill with my half-asleep older brother (who I only convinced into ACTUALLY eating breakfast with me by mentioning the fact that it was German Pancake day).  German Pancakes are my favorite breakfast here.  Who knew eggs, flour, sugar, and God knows what else, could taste so good?  I did.

We ate our pancakes and fruit, switching occasionally because the strawberry sauce I had splashed across my delectable pancakes got a little overwhelming at times, and he wanted to try it.  Thus, we finished our breakfast, and went back up to the room to sleep some more. HEY! we're on vacation! Don't judge!  We were temporarily jarred out of our restful slumber by housekeeping, and after stumbling out of our room for 10 minutes, almost falling asleep in the hallway, and drowsily making our way back into the room, we collapsed on our beds, and proceeded to sleep for another hour and a half, until lunch. We had a very productive morning as you can see.

Our day continued with a rather large amount of mediocrity.

Later, however, after refusing to participate in, attending, and then laughing my face off at the family talent show at 7, I meandered over to the gym with my friend Matti, to watch the annual Staff vs. Guest beatdown. AHEM I mean basketball game.

The Staff always win, not because they play every week, are in top physical condition, or are all between the ages of 16 and 25, but because of sheer intimidation.  "They ALWAYS win, every year, so why would this year be any different?" is the usual mindset of the guests, and the people in the audience, including the staffers who came to watch.  

In the audience, you get the typical crowd:
-Reject/Cheerleader: The staff members who are either 1. really bad at basketball, and were previously kicked off the team, or 2. girls, and never play anyway, so they just wear their hand-made player t-shirts
-Reluctant children: The campers who are only there because their counselors want to cheer for the other staff members, and could care less who wins or loses
-Bored attendee: The guests who have ABSOLUTELY nothing better to do with their time
-Fake Enthusiastic Family: The guests who's son/husband/uncle/cousin/second cousin/far distant relative is playing in the game and is only their to give some meager support, and maybe a few claps every once in a while
-Loud Ones: The guests who come to camp every year, know everyone on the staff, talk to everyone they see, and absolutely LOVE hearing the sound of their own voice.  

sooooo I sat in the top of the bleachers, behind the loud ones, the bored ones, the fakely enthusiastic ones, reluctant children, rejects, and cheerleaders, and just observed patiently.....The game ended up going very well for the staff, surprise, surprise.  But what DID surprise me was the reaction that everyone in the gym had to Timmy.

Timmy is a down syndrome 12 year old, who has the biggest heart for everyone, and is extremely well known and LOVED at Spofford, to the point where he actually made a facebook (with help) and continues to communicate with people from Spofford over the winter.  He's such an awesome little guy, is extremely sweet, caring, and has such a captivating personality! Anyway.  Every year Timmy looks forward to coming to Spofford, and each week that he comes, he plays in the Staff Basketball game.  I've seen him play before, and each time it almost brings me to tears.

He walks into the gym when the guys are getting warmed up, and sits on the bench in his little basketball outfit, telling the guys that they're "doin a good job" and that they're "gonna do great", just being such an encouragement, and bright face for everyone.

The game starts, and he's cheering for everyone on both teams, whoever happens to have the ball at that time.  Then the time comes about 20 minutes into the game, and it's finally Timmy's turn to play.  You notice a definite change on the court, as soon as he steps on, people walk more clumsily, lose possession of the ball more frequently, STINK at blocking, and for some

reason, the ball always seems to land directly in front of this kid who is purely ECSTATIC, for just having the chance to be on the court with all the "big guys".  The guys give Timmy the ball every time, and fake block him, to make him think he's doing a good job.  Of course, none of the points that he scores count, but I don't think he knows, or even cares.  I watch the guys dive at him to get the ball, but then at the last second, fall flat on their face, as if he was dodging them.  They fail at rebounding, seeing as the ball always ends up rolling in front of him.  He throws the ball up once, misses; Throws it again, airball; Throws it a third time, it hits the rim, and rolls in.  An EXPLOSION OF APPLAUSE deafens my ears as this little 12 year old boy runs down the court with his fists in the air, and everyone chants his name.  The extent to which they cheer for him, and the size of the smile on his face, is as if they had been losing the game by 2 with 10 seconds left, and he just got a 3 pointer.  

I was so blessed seeing how happy Timmy was tonight, and blessed by the guys in the game, how both teams just stopped what they were doing, (the clock wasn't even running) to give him a night he will never forget.  I was almost brought to tears, and I hope that this story has brightened your day, the way his smile brightened mine :)

Always <3 from Joyworld