Getting Beat by the Blind Kid with Cerebral Palsy

Ben playing Wii

My nephew Ben was born prematurely with cerebral palsy. His seventeen years have been punctuated by painful operations. He has faced each one with courage and grace, hardly complaining, occasionally admitting that it doesn’t feel so great to have been dealt this hand. But his sly smile and hearty laughter show up more often than his complaints.

Recently, he went blind.

As the sight in first one eye, and then the other, slipped away, and the surgeries to save his vision did not help as expected, he learned to cope with this new loss.

With his limited control over his limbs, virtual sports have always been important to him, and he wasn’t about to let something like going blind stop him from enjoying his favorite video games.

Ben playing Wii

His parents explained that he often knows which player is at bat in Wii baseball, even though as far as they can figure it’s random with no auditory clues.

“Ben, how do you know it’s Luca?” his step-mom Alicia asked.

“I just know,” he said.

“Yeah, but how do you know?”

“I’m not telling,” he said.

He plays the game based on sound cues. When he hears the whoosh of the pitch, he swings the bat based on timing.

The other day I got to go Wii bowling with him. He held the controller in his right, his good arm, and with a flick of his wrist, he rolled the virtual bowling ball down the virtual lane.

“What’d I get?” he asked. The 6 and 10 pins remained standing. Click, click, click. He adjusted the trajectory of his throw and let it rip, racking up another spare. He got plenty of strikes, too, while I stumbled along with a lot of 7 or 8 pin rounds.

Ben played baseball with my son, too, and he had a way of stating the obvious that made the whole family shake with laughter. My son asked of one of the batters: “What’s up with his hair?”

“What?” Ben asked.

“Look at it,” Dan said.

“Dude,” Ben said. “I can’t see.”

Dan and Ben playing Wii

I battled Ben in boxing, too. Unlike my klutzy self trying to bowl, I talked some trash for boxing, based on beating other family members in the past. I boxed away, punching the air, working up a sweat. I knocked him down a few times, got knocked down a few times. I figured I was ahead, and it would come down to the judges.

Then, with a mighty punch, I crumpled to the mat, down for the count. Knocked out.

The room erupted in cheers. Ben flashed that sly smile.

Like his parents did before me, I shook my head in disbelief, thinking: “I just got beat in a video game by a blind kid with cerebral palsy.”

It’s a goddamned frustrating experience.

And goddamned awesome too.

Marcy and Ben Wii boxing


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About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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30 Responses to Getting Beat by the Blind Kid with Cerebral Palsy

  1. Alicia says:

    Nice Marcy, frustrating and awesome for sure!!!

  2. beverlydiehl says:

    Ben rocks. Good for him for still being a killer at video games. His courage and heart are impressive.

  3. Katie says:

    It’s awesome to see kids/adults with disabilities succeed!
    I feel your pain — I’ve gotten my butt whooped on many occasion playing Wii Just Dance with my stepdaughter with Down syndrome!

  4. Rae Hilhorst says:

    I agree totally awesome, go Ben go. xxx

  5. Awesome indeed! Your family must be so proud of him. His grace and positive attitude are a lesson for those of us who complain much more about trials much smaller than his.

  6. rachelynne says:

    What an inspiring kid!! Good for him. It’s incredible how far a positive attitude and determination can take you. Thanks for sharing–I feel like I’ve met Ben myself after reading this post and am so glad to have been given the opportunity.

  7. Thanks for making me smile.

  8. Zoe says:

    what a great story!

  9. Wow.. that’s more than awesome. Ben is an inspiration.

  10. jamieahughes says:

    I absolutely lurv this post—like more than my luggage love it. That kid makes me want to hug pretty much everything. Even frogs….and I hate them.

  11. Lizzi Rogers says:

    What an incredible young man you have the privilege to know 😀

  12. TriGirl says:

    Love this. What a great guy! He sounds amazing and poised to do some great things in his life.

  13. That’s really awesome! One of my best friends from college has CP and though he definitely has a weaker side, is a fabulous musician and learned to play things like bass and guitar using that strong side and is in like 3 bands. Definitely a better musician than me, and I tried. 🙂

  14. he is awesome!!! i’m so glad he can still play his favorite games.

  15. Pam Huggins says:

    I’ve got a huge lump in my throat. Wow Ben! What an amazing young man.
    I love how your wrote this Marcy. It was engaging and uplifting.
    I bought your ebook a few weeks ago- I really enjoyed it! You’ve inspired me!

  16. dorothyadele says:

    This is a wonderful touching post. The photos are great too.

  17. This has to be one of my most favorite posts this week. It really touched my heart. Thank you for sharing this story! {{hugs}}

  18. Sam Merel says:

    I love the picture of you guys playing, and he is completely awesome.

    • Marcy says:

      Thanks, Sam. I really like that picture too. It really captures the fun. I imagine our arms are out of focus because of our lightning-fast jabs. 😉

  19. iasoupmama says:

    Frustrating, awesome and completely perfect! Good for him!

  20. akismet-5b25ce959e6c7fc0bd92de505bb72874 says:

    Great post – funny, touching, and inspiring. Sounds like you have such a fantastic family, full of love and humor. Your nephew Ben is obviously the star of this story – his amazing character and talent comes through loud and clear.

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