Sid already suffered from epilepsy at age 2 when a drunk driver hit him with his car.
After this accident, his life turned upside down. He had up to a hundred epileptic seizures daily. He had several brain operations to control his epileptic seizures. Successive operations, rehabilitations and… misery. His chest has a long scar, because he had to install a pacemaker in the event of a major attack.
In the pool, his coordination is poor. He swims heavily, like a robot. He cannot expel air from his lungs when his head is underwater.
He has no endurance and struggles to measure his energies. Yet he begins each length as if it were an important race that he must win at all costs. Despite all this, he is one of our good swimmers.
His problem is not so much physical as intellectual. The accident left him with serious after-effects.
Sid likes to talk. Too much. Too much.
No speech therapist has succeeded in making his diction very clear. He mumbles copious gibberish that is not meaningless or uninteresting, but his diction requires a high level of attention to follow the thread of his speech.
And there is speech. Long tirades worthy of Fidel Castro’s speeches. Not exactly the kind of conversation that’s ideal in a pool locker room.
Plus, he’s boastful. He wants so much to be admired that he calls himself the best of all in everything. Not one, but two perfect bowling games in a row, and bla-bla-bla… Fifteen minutes with him exhausts me. Imagine the people around him. Which makes everyone run away from him a little. This robs him of the attention he deserves. The further away you go, the more attention it requires. As if he was screaming that he wants love.
Love fell to him one day from the sky. Sid had not known his father. He and his mother separated when the father did not know she was pregnant. One day by chance, the man learns that he has been a father for 25 years… After a long search, he finally finds his son whom he knows is disabled.
I met his father just before the modest medal ceremony for the Special Olympics provincial finals. A rock star face, dreads, tattoos, a big build. He doesn’t look like an angel, but he makes a strong impression.
The face Sid made when he saw it! It looked like he had seen God in person. Sid rushed to hug her, his eyes watering.
The worst part was that, informed of his father’s possible arrival for the competitions, Sid had completely lost his composure because his presence monopolized all his thoughts. He performed so poorly in competitions that he was relegated to a lower category, which allowed him… to win several medals!
Winning four medals in front of his hero, the height of happiness for Sid. I love you, Sid.
During competitions for people with intellectual disabilities, athletes are grouped according to their previous results. A division can contain a maximum of eight athletes, and there cannot be more than a 25% difference between first and last. By underperforming, Sid came out of that gap and found himself… first in the underclass!