Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Different Video about Ds

A friend sent me a link to this video about a man with Down syndrome. He has trained to be an MMA fighter with his parents backing him up. It was an interesting video to watch and although it is long, it is worthy of the 13 minutes.

There is a lot to say about this video. There are some facts that aren't stated clearly or expressed well that I have issues with, but having a general sense of what Down syndrome is, is all you need to understand what this video is trying to present.

I think in some ways I would be scared. I couldn't imagine Johnny in an MMA fight. But is that because he is not quite 1 yet? Is that simply because he is my son? Is that because he has Down syndrome? As an adult, many with Ds are living independently, what sort of "control" will I have over what he does and what right do I have to exert that control? At what point does a parent step back when a kid is passionate about something and trust God to protect them?

In other ways, I would be so proud. Proud of the desire to work hard. Proud of the ability to train well. Proud of the athleticism gained in the work outs. Proud of the attitude that he was capable of anything. Proud that he found pride in himself. Like the narrator said, "Perhaps what matters most is not what is in the mirror. It's in the view." And I would be so proud, the proudest, of him teaching and working with others. It is worth watching the video, just to see the very end when he is encouraging the little kids and telling them what a great job they are doing.

I love his passion, that he wanted to work for something that made him feel good to do. I find the rejection of his label and of others with Ds as being very interesting, I wonder how many in the community feel this way. The part where he says he "ignores" his Ds fascinates me, especially in light of the highly controversial proposal that, one day, we could silence the extra chromosome that causes Trisomies. He talks about taking the punch "as a man", and I cannot help but hope that there are feelings so innate in all people, that it doesn't matter what your intellectual level is, those feelings and identities are important. I identified with his parents, who were told they were crazy, and while I may not encourage too much MMA fighting, His dad said, "Don't put limits on people, you are going to be amazed at what people can do if you just give them that opportunity." I want Johnny to be challenged and to strive for something bigger than what others think he can do.

At the end of the day, this kid is pretty amazing. Not because of what he does, but because of the work he puts into what he does. He is amazing because he tries hard, he works hard, and he pours into and invests into others. And as the video finished up:

Garrett: "Them look up to me as a hero or a super man."
Narrator: "Why?"
Garrett: "Because them need a super hero."

That's pretty amazing.

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