Story submitted by Kris, team captain of Cooper's Clan (and more importantly, mom of Cooper!) for the Greater Boston Walk. Tuesday, September 13, Cooper’s Clan amongst many proud others were invited to attend Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox vs. Blue Jays and also be recognized for our efforts for Autism Speaks in an Opening Ceremony before the game. We weren’t quite sure how my son, Cooper (8), would react to the crowds, noise etc. Cooper can be outside with chalk on sidewalk playing quietly, and upon seeing a person far in the distance walking down our street will come into the house and wait until they finally pass by until he can go back outside and continue playing. His shyness is palpable. How could we pass such a rare and exciting opportunity? As a family, we were extremely excited to go and give it a try and like most families with a child on the autism spectrum had our trepidations. First stop, Cask N Flagon (clanking dishes, lots of people). As soon as we sat there was a woman in another booth smiling at Cooper which made him start to cower a bit and my reassurances, “she just notices how amazingly handsome you are and wants to say hi,“ weren’t working so Cooper and I swapped seats at our table and I soon noticed his anxiety level slowly decrease and we were able to enjoy our dinner and he settled in and smiled at our waitress several times. Our little world series #1 of the evening.
Off to the Fenway! Waiting in the green room listening to instructions for what was going to happen as we got on the field(Yes, the Field at Fenway Park!) Cooper wasn’t all about the instruction and just blurted out “Mom, where’s the GAME?!”
We were led onto the field, once out there we were given more instructions, but this time from a man in a Red Sox uniform, I pointed out to Cooper “Look, he plays for the Red Sox, WOW!” Cooper made eye contact and asked his name (Little World Series #2) the man then told us it was Pete. Cooper had questions for Pete! Pete told him his job was to sit by the dugout and catch any ball that may come his way. Quite honestly, I was so completely enamored at this brief conversation, I remember little more than that, other than it took place and my little (big) man started it!(Little World Series #3)
Then we were led to our seats to watch the game. They had a touching ceremony to honor the National Guard, Troops and September 11th victims. It was beautiful.
Play ball! As we settled into our seats and the game began, Coop asked, “Mom, where’s Pete?” I pointed where Pete was on the field and as I did so, Cooper shouted,” GO PETE!” At that moment, I wished for lots of foul balls to be coming his way. Cooper watched his new friend Pete and cheered him on. No need to focus on the thousands of people that may want your attention or say hi, or the walking vendors yelling “soda, ice cream, cotton candy!” Cooper was focused on his friend Pete. Then after an ice cream, we were starting to lose steam. Thank you to our new friend Pete, I regret not getting your autograph or a picture of you and Cooper – you don’t know it, but you had 3 huge fans last eve “Cooper and his parents!” GO PETE!
As we went home Cooper grabbed this sign and struck a pose. The sign should’ve read “Mom’s heart is full”. For more information about the Walk, visit www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/greaterboston.