FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

All-Star Sports: Day One

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 06•13

It’s the first day of D’s All-Star Sports class, and as his teacher explains the basics of base running, D is spinning in circles as I watch from behind a counter separating the gym space.

“Does anyone know what this base is called?” his teacher asks.

“Home plate,” a few kids yell out.

“Right, you start at home plate, hit the ball, and run to first base.”

D’s teacher demonstrates by jogging from home to first base, stopping to share a few points, before he rounds the bases while I wait to see when D will stop spinning like a tornado.

He doesn’t.

The rest of his class of eight kids rounds the bases one by one, and I slide over the counter to stop D from spinning and quiz him on what his teacher said about base running.

“What’s this base called?” I ask, pointing at home.

“Home plate.”

“What base do you run to from home plate?”

“First base.”

“What base do you run to next?”


“And then?”



“Home plate.”

He knew it all, and it wasn’t from the few times I took a bat, ball, tee and bases to the neighborhood park because he ran off as soon as a few kids came over and we started a game.

Then I remembered an article I’d read about kids on the spectrum and how spinning stimulates listening in kids with sensory issues, and it can also help them to regulate their bodies.

And it must be true. Because when it was D’s turn to run the bases, he circled them in a jaunty trot, and then fielded grounders with a foam ball, and threw it back to his teacher.

He demonstrated a natural swing in hitting a ball swinging from a rope and a good throwing form in pummeling Milo the Monkey (his teacher in a costume) with cotton snowballs.

This all seemed impossible at the beginning of class. My theory is, he was on sensory overload from taking in all different faces from the kids in his Saturday Whiz Kids class.

In her memoir Songs of the Gorilla Nation, Dawn Prince-Hughes describes her difficulty as a person on the autism spectrum with processing stimuli and her sensory oversensitivity this way:

“So much stimulation streams in, rushing into one’s body without ever being processed: the filters that other people have simply aren’t there. Swimming through the din of the fractured and the unexpected, one feels as if one were drowning in an ocean without predictability, without markers, without a shore.”

It is a paradox how the act of spinning helped D to regulate his body–I thought he was losing control of his body–but it seemed true that spinning stimulated his listening ability.

Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan once said, “Every once in a while you come into a situation on the mound where you want, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.”

D came into such situation in his All-Star Sports class where he wanted and had to overcome a sensory challenge, and he reached down and proved that he could meet the challenge to learn the fundamentals of baseball.


mygymlogo[1]Searching for a sports class in a non-competitive, fun atmosphere?

My Gym’s Summer All-Star Sports Class in Redondo Beach (1216 Beryl Street) is a great way to introduce your kid to sports.

They will learn the fundamentals and basics while having a great time.



For more info: www.mygym.com/redondobeach or rendondobeach@mygym.com

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