Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Strength in Adversity

It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.
- Vince Lombardi
Who would have guessed that we would find so much inspiration in football.

And in this we are undoubtedly not alone. Football here became a lot more than a game a few years back, even for people who previously had never thought much about it or who had turned away when the sport temporarily suffered locally from corporate threats to move. Everyone had begun to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. Many were involved in reconstructing businesses, hospitals, universities, parks, libraries, and so on, mostly from the ground up. Those who returned with families gambled nervously on schools that would require an unusual degree of participation, and patience. These things and home repair were hard and since there was always more work to be done it could all seem at times like a wearily thankless task. Until our team began to win.

Our Saints had returned to rebuild with a roster stocked with castaways and undrafted players, under a first-year head coach. Our new quarterback was recovering from a severe injury and had just relearned how to throw. Collectively they came to genuinely represent us in the premise that there is a special kind strength in adversity. Their games became epic battles, tests of both individual will and coordinated effort, and always about rising above challenges and circumstance.
Build [upon] your weaknesses until they become your strong points.
- Knute Rockne
Henry will have some challenges ahead in which these football lessons may apply.  Our doctors surprised us at our medical team visit this week when, to a one, they basically said there is not much more they can do right now.  Based on our earlier team visits, we had anticipated some additional surgeries this year to try to adjust his lip and nose, but it now appears that these options in Henry’s case are restricted by a lack of undamaged tissue to work with. So our team is advising that we postpone any additional lip and nose revisions through plastic surgery until the bones in his face are more fully developed, and after we have built more of an upper jaw through orthodontia and bone grafting. It is still likely that this year his doctors will scope him to gauge his VPI (velopharyngeal inadequacy) and determine whether they should attempt to readjust the length of his homemade soft palate. But no one is promoting this as a sure-footed step toward speech improvement for Henry. Our pediatric oral surgeon said constructing a temporary bridge of upper teeth may not help either, although one of our speech therapists thought it might.

Henry looks and sounds pretty good to us of course, and he is destined for a school that is unusually diverse and welcoming. Nevertheless, we will probably focus a bit more on preparing him to successfully navigate the social challenges that will accompany his elementary and middle school years. We had agreed not to advance him into kindergarten this fall with his September birthday so close to the cutoff and this is looking like a good decision since he is very happy among his current pre-k classmates. His teachers have been a great help and we will lean more on our speech therapists. But he will need to find his own strength in adversity, without becoming too tough, lest we forget on football Sundays that it is often wisest just to turn the other cheek.

Luckily we have many sources of wisdom on which to rely, apart from football.
We live, not as we wish to, but as we can.
- Meng Zi (Mencius), Chinese philosopher, 371- 289 BC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Saints and Drew Brees absolutely rock. Almost as much as little Henry.

Who Dat!