Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sportsmanship: Thomas the Train vs Lil' Critter

Pictures: First we have Thomas the Tank Engine and then we have Lil' Critter on the cover on one of the Mercer Meyer Books.

Sportsmanship: Lil' Critter versus Thomas the Train

Which character do you think would win in terms of Sportsmanship? Would it be Little Critter? Or would it be Thomas the Train?

Based on the book Just a Baseball Game, I'd say Little Critter. In that book, the first-time little leaguer's team plays The Dinosaurs, a team of players who are much bigger than Lil Critter and his friends. As a result The Dinosaurs run up the score. The team members of The Critters start to feel bad until their coach reminds them that they should just have fun. The message here is that playing is more important than winning. It's a lesson I'd wish my son would learn.

In contrast, my son would say Thomas the Train would win the ideal sportsmanship award. I am basing this on my son's quotes of a book from the Thomas the Tank Engine Franchise. This book is based on, but is not one of the books from Railway series by the Rev. W. Awdry. My son quotes directly from the book, Catch Me, Catch Me. This quote from Thomas the Tank Engine is the last line the book:

"I am first and you are last!"

It's my son's favorite quote to spout from the book. He'll say this before every race during Special Olympic track practice where he races teammates that are much bigger and stronger than he is. The guys he races also have more experience in track as my guy is the youngest on the team and a first-year team member.

Anyway, in Catch Me, Catch Me (a Pictureback Reader), Thomas races his much bigger friend Gordon. Gordon taunts Thomas, thinking he will win the race. However, Thomas wins by going through a tunnel that only little trains can fit into while Gordon has to climb and descend a huge mountain. (Isn't this cheating?) Anyway at the beginning of the book (before the tunnel comes into play) Gordon says:

"Slow Down. Go Slow." (In context, they have to slow down by going through a town.)

My son with autism also says (yells, actually):

"Slow Down. Go Slow!" (taking the words completely out context!)

Me: (sigh) "Be a good sport!! Don't yell at your team mates!"

One time he had a total meltdown during a practice and I had to drag him (56 lbs) from the track back to the van. Then I had to transport the screaming boy home. As of now I seem to be wasting words whenever I spout good sportsmanship reminders. They are ineffective. The words from the Thomas story are ingrained in his brain. Maybe, a good nonfictional social story will help my son be better at sportsmanship. Or maybe he just needs to mature a little. We shall see...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...that is a tough one. Time will probably help.

I often wonder how much of what M sees and reads that she takes totally literally. Sometimes I think she understands something only to realize days later that she took it a totally different way. It can be frustrating and at times wonderful.