Hey, everyone. I’m back from my little trip afield, and back to parenting again. (Okay, okay, so I’m going out tomorrow without the family, and then away again at the end of February for another bonspiel, but…)
Québec was very interesting. Setting aside all of the other things about the Winter World Masters Games themselves, I was glad to actually be able to do some talking about the other cause that (clearly) matters a lot to me – Autism.
I mentioned before we left that my team was going to be wearing uniforms while we were there. This was not a requirement – unlike most World Curling Federation events, there was no requirement for everyone to be wearing the same clothes on each team. Now, this doesn’t mean that most teams weren’t wearing uniforms of some sense, but only four teams in the bracket actually had things approaching a standard kit – one team from Québec had fully sublimated uniforms, one had gone out to buy similar clothing for their team members (and were wearing their jackets from a run at the 2012 Senior World Championships), and one team were wearing their provincial champion jackets. And then there was us.
As I mentioned in an earlier post (see Raising Awareness), our team members were solicited for items we’d like to have printed on our uniforms. So, for three of them, their employer’s logos were on the uniforms. Two are on the board of their curling club, so that logo was on our uniforms too, as was the logo of the winter games organizing committee from Lake Tahoe and a sponsor, as well as our national federation logo (go Israeli Curling Federation!) and a team logo… And on the other sleeve was the logo of the Winter Games and the Autism ribbon.
Beyond looking a little NASCAR, it certainly drew a lot of attention.
First, we were the only “non-North American” team at the competition – which doesn’t say much, since all four of us on the team are from North America. And as mentioned, we were one of two teams that had actual uniforms.
But more importantly, we were also the only team that had a cause on their uniforms. People did ask questions – good ones – about why we were wearing the ribbon, which usually ended up with folks coming over to talk to me as the member of the team who has any experience with Autism. So I did quite a bit of talking in the warm room about Autism and how it affects my son, about the kinds of things that parents of children with Autism go through in terms of making regular life work, and about other people’s experiences with children of family or friends who are similarly affected. (And yes, I did get one or two questions about vaccination, but all of those were in terms of “you don’t really believe that vaccines cause Autism, do you?”, mostly in light of the measles outbreak at Disney and the lingering suspicions about the effects had in the US by Jenny McCarthy and Andrew Wakefield.)
I’m hardly going to say that these kinds of things are going to change the world massively in terms of acceptance and understanding of Autism, but it certainly helps to keep it in people’s minds…