Fan Appreciation Day

I run with a pack of White Sox fans.  We live on false hope.  When hope flags, we honor effort.  My buddies committed to stand tall at this year’s final home game, a.k.a. Fan Appreciation Day.  “Count me in!” I said.

When game-day eve arrived without a word on where, when and how, I phoned my pals. Uh-oh, seems that plans had proceeded around me.  My special transport needs hadn’t been figured into the mix.  My buddies rallied to come up with an eleventh-hour Plan B.  But their best efforts still left me covering foreign turf with only my white cane for company.  You see, my sidekick and guide dog, Randy, prefers watching Sox games on TV to being jostled by rowdy fans.

Reluctantly, I put my ticket up for adoption.  Sad and disappointed, I rationalized that, given the Sox season-ending swoon, the game was meaningless.  Meaningless in the standings maybe.  But not when Fan Appreciation Day meant cheering our second-place heroes: A. J., and Pauly, Alex and Jake.

I recognize my part in the transaction.  I had sat back and waited for my friends to solve my problem.  This is the arrogance that says that simply being me is enough for the world to meet my needs.  In this sense, blindness is not my biggest problem.  Arrogance looms large.  Throw in passive and procrastinating and throw out Fan Appreciation Day.

There’s always next year.  That’s the mantra of Chicago sports fans.  But the pain of loss lingers. Blindness’s toll on baseball goes beyond players rendered invisible. It steals the pleasure of even showing up.  I do not stroll to the Red Line, hop aboard the train, jump off at 35th Street and find my bleacher seat at the Cell.  Instead, on Fan Appreciation Day, I shake my fist and rail against a separate and unequal world.

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10 Responses to Fan Appreciation Day

  1. Matthew Carello says:

    Ok this is going to sound rude and mean but it seems like, when dealing with blind, it is out of sight out of mind for a lot of sighted friends and even familly. Things like this anger me. Yes we do need to plan ahead on some things but when people know we need assistance with some things it would be nice if they um actually planned on helping us and doing what they said they would. Even if it is an unspoken agreement or something that happens more than once. Ok getting off of my soap box now and seing if i can actually send this.

  2. sharon howerton says:

    Instead of railing, how exhilerating it could have been to force yourself out of your comfort zone and surprise not only your friends but mostly yourself by going to that game? I can appreciate, it is not easy, but sometimes we just have to do it to prove it to ourselves if nothing else. Try small things, walks in the neighborhood or somewhere else familiar so that by next year, if necessary, you’ll be ready to try getting to that game. And it still won’t be easy, it will still be way out of your comfort zone, but beats the heck out of being angry and depressed. Sharon

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Thank you both so much for your provocative comments. The purpose of this blog is, and always has been, to produce thoughtful consideration. Both comments exemplify that goal. One constant of the blind experience is that each transaction with the sighted world has so many facets for interpretation and learning. Yes, sighted people )and all of us for that matter) need to be more considerate. And, yes, getting outside one’s comfort zone is the key to personal growth. Any other reactions out there? Aside from the difficulty Word Press presents in leaving comments/replies to these blogs, where do other readers weigh in on this issue? Let me hear you now!

      • Debra says:

        Hi, I’m just finding this site and seem to be quite intrigued by it. I feel the need to interject a question here as this is something I am personally dealing with at the same moment here. My husband is also blind. Unfortunatly, he is blind to the whole “consideration thing”. Unless it happens to be specifically designed around him. There are plenty of things he should be doing for himself but he “expects” me to “handle them. Things he would be so much better off either expressing a need for or doing himself. Not only do I prepare his meals but now I even have to put it on his plate and hand it too him and he acts as if I should see this need. If he drops things I am expected to drop everything I am doing to come and look for his lost object. Where is the consideration. I truely feel as if I am simply a very cheap maid, only here to do his bidding. He cannot be responsible for giving anything to me or this relationship. Honestly, I feel as if he is very self centered and selfish. I didn’t cause his blindness but for some reason it is my responsibility to “fix” it wherever it becomes a problem. But that does not come back to me in any way shape or form. So my question to you is simply – What are you doing to make things better for those around you? Have you verbally asked for assistance? Have you told them (and not just assumed they already realize) speciffically what you need? (How can I avoid any stairs?) (Where can I find a bathroom?) Communication is not ever a bad thing and there are no stupid questions, just unasked questions. How much guidiance do you need, An elbow, a hand, closeness, a hand on your shoulder? Do your friends know this? Did you tell them? My husband reacts harshly to any physically contact for guidance, but I can only ask “what else can I do?” My intention isn’t to “point out his fault” it is just to help him get where he needs to go, but because he reacts badly, I lose interest in helping him at all. Sincerely, I hope that you are not excluding those around you that are trying to help. Please return the consideration.

    • Debra says:

      please remember too that your not the only one dealing with a comfort zone, those helping must also cross a line out of their own comfort zone in order to assist you.

  3. Ahhh, I can’t put this off any longer and wordpress accessibility on this page is just a barricade and brick wall that I must conquer before I start thinking about what to make for dinner. Or, will someone else bring home take-out? Such a quandry everyday about putting the foot into the motion of taking a step in determination and decision making. First, I’ll respond with a comment, “Self-Determination”. Now, about dinner. See you down the road. Jeff Thompson,

  4. bethfinke says:

    I’m curious. Does writing about experiences like this one help you get through them, Jeff? Or does writing about these sorts of things pull you lower down in the dumps?

  5. Blindness is and always will be the available crutch. It is ours and it can be part of our arsenal when times push and shove. That, I can not change; however, as Sharon gently stated and you noted that getting outside the comfort zone fortress is key. I know all too well about dependency and more than just that, how I wish people would just get it. You see my weakness is that I wish everybody new my perspective and when they don’t get it I want to go to that place and clench my fist and pout about me, me, me. But, like you I imagine, I can paint myself into any picture I want to create. I would rather have a more inclusive picture than what I sometimes only limit myself to realize and getting the big picture makes me understand that I don’t need 46 self-portraits of myself. If I want to be part of the big picture I got to get into it and not in my own little quandary.
    I love your writing and it always makes me think. Good job and keep it up.
    Jeff

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Good stuff here. Beth, writing about it is therapeutic. It brings things into the light. A problem shared is halved. Lots of clichés here, but my intention is sincere. For me, writing is therapeutic also in the respect that it seems to uncover facets of any issue. With this situation, I first was surprised at being left out of the planning. Then I was angry at my friends. Then I was sad for missing the game and their company. Then I looked for my part in the transaction. And I had a chance to review each step, each reaction, as I wrote. I do not write these kinds of pieces to justify my behavior or my reaction. I write to present myself as an example of how this blindness thing contributes to what is already there. Remember, I said that blindness is not my biggest problem. It may exacerbate existing character flaws. It may make me more patient, tolerant and accepting of others’ foibles. It may do lots of things. I do not pretend to portray myself as heroically infallible, just human.

      • Debra says:

        some of us are truely glad to see this side 😉 Thank you. Sometimes I need to see your side of it, cause when I get frustrated, I cant see anything very clearly, and that is coming fron a full sited individual.

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