Monday, April 26, 2010

Wanting to Play the Game

While suffering through the excessively long pre-race show yesterday, anxiously awaiting the start of the NASCAR race at Talladega, I ventured on to YouTube and noticed a big bar at the top that read, "Watch the Indian Premiere League Cricket Finals Live!". How could I pass up a chance like that?

I am an avid sports fan, but cricket is something I don't understand. I think I have a running gag in my book writings asking what the sport is, but no matter how much I read the rules I still don't get it One of the people I race with on Xbox, from Europe, stated, "heck, we don't even know what it is or how to play. All we know is that it is a great afternoon spent in the sun kicking back and enjoying drinks."

Somebody must understand it because there are playing and refs and the audience cheered on this live feed when somebody hit the ball. Drinks or not, the audience was cheering so they knew what was going on. I, however, had no idea what just happened or if one team scored. The announcers were saying that this was a record X (I don't know if there are ends, or innings, or what they are called) for an IPL final. They also said the other team needed an 11.2 rpo to have a chance. Um, okay?

In cricket they don't pitch the ball, they bowl the ball. This confuses me as I used to bowl in a league every Monday night and I can tell you what they do is not bowling. In bowling the object is to knock down pins, but in cricket the pins are called wickets. I'm so confused!

This blog entry is not about my gripping tale of not understanding cricket. I do have an example to use out of the sport:

For me, my misunderstanding of cricket is very much like my misunderstanding of social situations. I've read about cricket, and have now watched cricket, and I'm still clueless as to the object of the sport. How do they win? What's the object? What's a good position? Think of it this way. I'm sure most of my American readers are in the same boat as me on cricket (for you international readers think of American Football or baseball) and don't comprehend the game.

Okay, you don't understand the game, but let's say you get called upon to play the game in a must win situation (I would say the situation precisely if I understood what one of those would be). There's a lot of pressure riding on you as your team mates are expecting you to come through. You though, you don't even understand the game (and if you do, for metaphor's sake you don't). How can you possibly do something good when you don't even understand the game?

To not understand the game is my entire world. I don't understand the social aspect of this world, but many times I am called upon and am put into the middle of the action. I don't know the rules, I don't even know how one goes about winning, and I certainly am unaware of who's on my team and who the opposition is, if any.

Here's a major sentence; it's not that I don't want to play, it's that I don't understand the game. Because of this I try to avoid anything that could be an open-ended social situation. If you were put into a sports event, and failed each time, how inclined would you be to willingly be in the game?

I do want to understand the sport of cricket, just as I yearn for the ability to be in a open-ended conversation with a group of people. Wanting to understand and being able to understand are two different things though.

The inspiration of this article was the line in a lot of presentations that say, "people with an autism spectrum disorder prefer to be alone." I do prefer to be alone, but I don't want to be alone. Much like a person who is called upon to win the sporting event when they don't even understand the game, I don't understand the game of life. Therefore, to avoid failure and those horribly awkward moments, I prefer to be alone. I may lie at some points in time and say that I'm fine with this, but deep down I truly wish I knew how to play the game.


  1. "I do prefer to be alone, but I don't want to be alone." This makes me sad. Are you sad?

  2. Well I can't help you with the game of life, since I'm as confused as you are. I do have friends that I hang around with and go to conventions (my Kansas) where I can walk up to anyone, but most of my friends are on the Autism Spectrum themselves and at conventions I'm a completely different person. Still I get lost lots of times.

    I did find a small video explaining the basics of cricket if you haven't found it yourself yet... Especially the picture at 0:08 might make you laugh :P

    PS: ah my Word Verification word is Equal... I love that word :)

  3. I watched that video, and yet that sport still makes no bit of sense. Maybe someday I will be able to not only crack the mystery of eye contact, but also understand the sport of cricket :)

  4. Have you ever thought of using the traits associated with autism that you already have and repackage them to navigate social situations? You maybe wondering what I am talking about... but I can give you a couple quick tips.

    1. For each social situation you go to ahead of time, think about who (in terms of general group of people) may be there. Then, you try to think what are the appropriate topics for that group and some go-to questions.

    2. Since you like video games, think of going to each new social situation as a video game that you play all the time that has "rankings". Then, you define the "rankings" that are meaningful to you.

    To tell the truth, you can still anticipate things happening in social situations even though you can't anticipate in the moment. I say that because whenever I go to an OT conference, I thought it all out the night before the entire conference starts- who I might expect to see, the corresponding topics that might be appropriate, and when I might meet these people. Then, at conference days, I simply just let my instincts take over with the goals I have for the conference at the back of my mind. After the entire conference concludes (which will be several days later), then I will reflect upon what I did when I have a moment to myself.

    I know some of the things may sound very hard. But it is fixable if you pin point the cause, put in the work (including identifying what works for you), and be reflective of what you did... it will slowly get better.