Tuesday, March 15, 2011
frisbee "soup for the soul"
We have all heard the title from the book, "Chicken Soup for the Soul" which has been interchanged many times over, but I don’t think it’s ever been used with reference to Frisbee! Here’s why it works! A few weeks ago a hardened gang leader and drug abuser joined us for Frisbee; we’ll call him "B". His name had been mentioned a number of times amongst our guys and always said with much respect and reverence. We often heard of our guys hanging out there and this was always associated with “wrong things”. More often than not they never pitched the next morning for their meetings if they’d been hanging at B’s house and so the very mention of the name would make me unhappy. When he arrived I immediately had a grudge against him with no real reason but merely because I considered him a bad influence on ‘our guys’ and wished he wasn’t with us. At Frisbee he walked around with that common attitude that said, ‘don’t talk to me unless I want you to.’ No smile, no eye contact, and he would walk off the field when and if he chose to, with no consideration for others. I gave the situation some thought, and it struck me that I had it backwards, and in fact, I’d rather have him join us for Frisbee, than our guys not come to Frisbee to join him. So.. WELCOME TO THE TEAM B!!
The following week he came again, (I think this time a little less hung over) and he played well! A few compliments, a few cheers, and a goodbye pat on the back, “thanks for joining us B, you played well! See you next week!”. I could see the slight breaking of a smile, a slight twinkle in his eye appear, and a look I’ve seen little boys get when they’re awarded those tiny little trophies.
He has now come a few times, and at yesterday’s practice he pulled out his phone and out of the blue asked to have a photo taken of all of us together. It struck me that he wanted to capture the group on camera. With his "Ocean View" image gone, he didn’t stop smiling throughout the game, and at the end he picked up the Frisbees and even came over to say thanks!!
So what happened?? BELONGING - he has become part of something, part of a team, a unique team, he has a purpose, people need him. Remember that Frisbee is played with professional business people from around the area and, on the field, everybody is equal. MASTERY - he is good at something! He has a skill, and a skill that not just anybody in Ocean View has, only an elite few. INDEPENDENCE - he chose to do this, it’s his idea.