I began this blog with the intention of helping people develop super hero like attributes (i.e run faster, jump higher, etc.). As two years have gone by since this journey began I have learned a lot from a ton of great coaches; but none have influenced me as much as coach Scott Sonnon. Through his life story Coach Sonnon teaches his students about fitness and life. Today he posted something on his Facebook page related to each of us having a super power. I really wanted to share it with you so here it goes:
” Crying silently at the terrible day, my bus dropped me off at our trailer court. The kids scowling at and shoving me down the aisle to exit, crumpled paper catapulted like esteem-battering siege engines. The bus driver shook her head and grabbed my arm, “If you’re going to cause this much trouble, get your parents to drive you home from school.” She shoved me down the steps. Believe me, I thought to myself, I wish that my mom could.
The substitute teacher that day had screamed in frustration at my test answer, “Are you kidding? If you’re going to deliberately make a mockery of my class, go to the office,” holding his finger pointing to the exit, and waving my paper for all of the kids to see.
I was a mirror-writer, so my work was only readable by its reflection. At 6, I couldn’t understand why my hand couldn’t make the words look like everyone else’s. But my mother, despite being a single mom of four kids working two full time labor jobs, found alternative educational support: Total Physical Response for my language skills, Chisanbop for my mathematics, and Phonics for my spelling.
But it wasn’t any one of these alternatives that changed my life. It was THAT she COULD. If an alternative educational approach worked, that meant to my little mind, that it wasn’t me who was broken; rather, the class wasn’t being taught in a way that allowed me to learn. Now, I could have gone down the road of blaming the teachers (I did), but my family helped me realize a different route: self-education through alternative learning styles validates and empowers like no conventional education could.
My grandmother looked at my red-inked school work and said, “WOW! Isn’t this great, Hon?” I was still crying but her reaction to my mom confused me. She asked, “Do you know how many people can write upside down and backwards? I sure can’t. That is some superpower you have! I wonder what else you can do that we don’t know about!” Superpower. Somehow, I was exceptional and no one could understand it.
That support from my mother and belief from my grandmother sufficed. I could endure the ridicule (eventually) if I was secretly a superhero, like the childhood version of Clark Kent. Instead of shaming my superpowers, I’d practice them, grow them, hone them. The tears stopped, and I went back to my room to read my comics and think. “What if I AM Superboy growing up?”
The next year at school, the most wonderful teacher of my scholastic life came over to my desk the first week of class. Overlooking my mirrored writing, she said, “Scott, I love how clean and crisp you make your letters with your right hand. Can we play a game for a second, please?” Nodding, she grabbed the pencil from my right and placed it in my left hand. Smiling, she continued, “I bet you can do it with both.” (Before her, the entire class had been forced to write right-hand, so she was a bit of a heretic in the school, I came to learn, for her her so called “alternative witchcraft” another teacher scoffed in whispers.)
Cautiously touching lead to paper, the letters traveled down my arm… Without mirror-writing. What!? I wrote more and compared it to my right hand work. Another Superpower! My left hand could do what my right hand could not, and my right hand could do what NO ONE else could! The teacher beamed, tossed my hair, and said, as she walked away, “See! You CAN write with both hands!”
I played with it, writing with both hands at the same time. “WHOA! That’s so neato,” yelled the kid next to me, “I’m going to try that!” She couldn’t, but in seconds, everyone had two pencils, one in each hand, trying to repeat my trick. No one could. A few kids ran over to my desk and asked me to show them how to write “backwards and upside down.” Looking up at my teacher sitting there, smiling, she said, “Go ahead, Scott! Show’em whatcha got!!” A crowd formed, and everyone tried it out. It was the best day ever.
Superpowers. I spent the rest of my life dedicated to unearthing hidden abilities. It wasn’t an easy, confident or direct route. That great day was only one. Many dark years of turmoil lay ahead, eventually leading to institutionalization in a childhood psychiatric hospital, but even there, the seed had already germinated… Superpowers. Nothing would stop me from transforming from my Clark Kent childhood into the future cape wearing Kal-El. That one great day was enough to cement in place the idea that within me lies greatness, and those who can’t see it, don’t realize yet their own.
When someone says that someone cannot do something, that someone is incapable, incompetent, inept… I feel very sad, because they can’t see the hidden superpowers of the person they’re judging; worse still, when the judged individual believes them, too. But we are all part of a league of super- heroes and super-heroines. Some just can’t see it yet. A sad few suffer their entire lives not realizing it.
Be your own superhero… So that you can crusade for others to become theirs. Thank you to all of the teachers who have helped me along my growth. You’re doing incredible, life-altering jobs with just the simplest gesture, smile and supportive belief in our potential. Thank you to all the parents who love their children so unconditionally that they realize their children have untapped potential beyond what they can comprehend. Your love will unearth their superpowers, and they will grow into those abilities, despite all the hardships they face now. ”
Hope you enjoyed it as much as me. Sometimes the things that makes us weird, are in fact our super power. My super power for example is losing things. I have a great ability to misplace things even when I’m not moving. I could be writing quietly at my desk when all of a sudden… POOF! My pencil is lost.