When I saw the Duracell commercial about Derrick Coleman for the first time I cried. When I watched it for the 10th time I cried. I tear up pretty much any time I hear that monologue because it reminds me of SJ and how focused and driven she is in the midst of adversity.
I recently checked out Coleman’s book No Excuses from the library and since then I have recommended it to everybody. If you have a child or you yourself have any form of disability I think you would be extremely encouraged by Coleman’s story.
A lot of it I can relate to because of my own connection with hearing loss. SJ started ballet recently and I feel like reading No Excuses has allowed me to become an even better advocate for her. I was able to tell the instructors that she is capable and you don’t need to baby her, but also giving practical information on how she may understand more when you are facing her and she can read your lips. Eventually she’ll have to be vocal about her needs, but until then I am there to do it for her.
The book was full of all kinds of excellent advice without just spelling things out in a preachy way. There was also a lot of behind the scenes football stuff. I am not a huge football fan at all. I know pretty much nothing about the game, but I still got a lot out of it.
For example there was one part of the book where Coleman makes it onto an NFL team and he messes up during a game. He knows that he blew it and so he immediately apologizes to the coach and the coach says 4 simple words “Don’t worry about it”. At first I took this as a really great reply. How sweet that that coach would give him grace during such a high pressure event. Yeah I really thought that, but what Derrick was thinking was Oh no. They are done with me. He said you know that if a coach ever stops correcting you they no longer believe in you. The fact that this coach let him off the hook meant that he was also going to let him go. And Derrick was right. After that he was sent packing.
I was inspired by this tiny little nugget, because as a momma who can tend to be big on mercy it made me think about the importance of correction. I’m not saying that I have to constantly play the role of coach and not a compassionate mother, but that’s not the point. The point is we correct our children because we value them and even though I know this is true, it was still a good reminder for me.
The next day my son was complaining about how his friends get to stay up past 10:00 every night playing video games and he was showing resentment toward me because I don’t let him do that. I explained how those kids are either exaggerating or maybe their parents really don’t care, which is scary. Then I gave him the football story about Derrick and the coach. I said It might be easier if I let you do whatever you want and never correct you, but that’s not what’s best for you. When that coach said “Don’t worry about it” he basically was saying you are not on my team anymore so I’m not going to waste my time. But, son you are on my team. And your dad and I are always going to care about you and instruct you. You may not like it, but we are trying to make sure you turn out to be the best player you can possibly be! We want you to win the super bowl!”
Yes. I actually went there with the sports analogy.
Back to the book, if you are craving an uplifting true story you should give No Excuses a chance. Derrick Coleman defied the odds by becoming the first legally deaf offensive player in the history of the NFL. And not only that he saw victory on the field. The book made me so happy for him and for all deaf people.
Two thumbs up from Messy Mom.