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What Soccer Taught Me About Getting an Autism Diagnosis

For over 80% of my life, I felt like I was walking alone. Not in the religious sense, but alone in that I had no one around me who understood me. Especially me before I was diagnosed with Asperger’s.

Let’s jump in the Way Back Machine (did anyone catch the “Sherman & Peabody” reference?) and look back a few years.

When I was 10 years old, soccer first came to my city, and I loved it. But I sucked at it. Sucked in a big way. How big?

My first coach told me early in the season, “I only play you half a game because I have to.”

Well, that will do wonders for a kid’s self-esteem. But I kept playing and eventually got better. Not good enough to make my high school team, but I got better.

I played club soccer and eventually got a scholarship to a tiny school with a coach who doubled as an economics teacher who took a two-week coaching course to get certified. That story is a huge train wreck for another day.

Most Saturday and Sunday mornings during football season (European football season), you can usually find me on my couch with some hot tea and a little breakfast. Why am I up so early? It’s the English Premier League (EPL), baby! With a six-hour time difference between London and Kansas City, that means early afternoon games are early morning for me.

Image provided by author.

I love all things EPL. I love the fanbase for the different clubs, I love how they support their side, and I especially love how almost 46,000 at Anfield (the home stadium of Liverpool) come together to sing throughout the game.

When I first got into the Premier League I loved Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool. The tradition and the rivalries were something not to miss.

They still aren’t.

Then one day as Liverpool was

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For over 80% of my life, I felt like I was walking alone. Not in the religious sense, but alone in that I had no one around me who understood me. Especially me before I was diagnosed with Asperger’s.
Oh, the things we do with the English language, and being a creative with a degree in English, it often downright delights me. Some of our current linguistic trends, carried by the cool kids, include saying “feels” rather than “feelings” and furthermore calling it a place. That hit me in the feels. Us cool kids (yeah, I’ll go ahead and claim it) also like to tack “all the” in front of things in lieu of “many,” “much,” “a lot of,” etc. I shall eat all the puddings.

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