Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Social Justice Events

Sean Grant

Blog on event (Chris Herren & Special Olympics)


                For my Social Justice Event I attended both Chris Herren speak on campus and I helped work at the Special Olympics here at RIC.  I could not pick between the two because both have been two points we have discussed in class.

                The first event was Chris Herren.  A lot of my friends have heard him speak at their high schools or an event and told me it really was a great experience so I wanted to find out for myself.  For those that do not know, Chris was from Fall River, Massachusetts not too far from little Rhode Island.  He was a phenomenal basketball player.  He was a McDonalds All American in Highschool and even got the Gatorade New England Player of the Year twice (1993, 1994).  He then went on to play Division 1 college basketball at Fresno State which led him into the NBA getting drafted(second round 4th pick) by the Denver Nuggets then coming home and playing for the Boston Celtics.  But that was FAR from the focus of this event, the main reason Chris was there was that his career came to an end because of his drug abuse.  He went on about how off the court he was the kid parents liked and enjoyed being around, but in reality he was not.  Chris was into all types of drugs and would even pick those drugs over his own family.  This showed me how privileged this guy was growing up getting things basically handed to him because he was a superb athlete, and yet he threw it all away…..for nothing.  Being an athlete myself, I could somewhat relate but not entirely.  Throughout high school and at my first college, when thinking about it, I felt as though there were privileges that I had, that I had no idea I had.  But with positive always comes negatives and Chris picked the wrong path.  His addiction became so bad, that this one story sticks in my head and I have NOO idea how anyone could miss this opportunity.  Being from Massachusetts, Boston Celtics were Chris hometown team and when they picked him up he was on the starting lineup.  For his hometown team, Chris Herren missed his name being called “Now starting for the Boston Celtics at guard, Chris Herren…” except Chris didn’t come out when called, he was standing in traffic in his Celtics uniform waiting for his drug dealer to give him his fix before playing.  This has not settled with me since I heard him say it, how could someone just throw away all the opportunity he worked hard for, his dreams, for nothing.

                The second event I had participated in was helping out in the Special Olympics here at RIC.  This was one of the best feelings I have had in a while.  The smiles on their faces, the environment, there was truly a great vibe in the gym that day.  It showed me many different things as well, showing me the problems some of these children face on a day to day basis.  When thinking about it after the fact, these children did not feel oppressed when they came to the gym, that day was all about them, which really made it a great day.  I specifically ran a kicking station where they would kick the ball into a net, it didn’t matter how far back or how close they would get excited whenever they kicked the ball.  Positive reinforcement was all I was giving the kids and I could not give them enough after every kick I would encourage them, even if they looked down if they missed I told them “you got this, show me how it’s done,” and me giving them confidence showing them I believed in them, allowed them to do the activity.  I cannot lie, if I had no had this class going into that I would have my blinders on.  I’m truly thankful that this class has eliminated my blinders, for the most part, because it can only help me in my career, but not only that it will help throughout life in communicating, on the fields, where ever.

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