Hi everyone! Some of you may have seen this article on CentralJersey.com last week that talked about “a mother’s connection between her children and a soccer legend.” I just wanted to share with you the e-mail my mom sent the reporter that led to the wonderful story. I hope you enjoy it!
PHOTO BY PAM HERSH/Leslie Kowalski proudly shares a copy of the book, “The Keeper: The Unguarded Story of Tim Howard,” about the soccer legend’s life with Tourette Syndrome.
I know you saw me in the emotional place of just having seen my children beautifully described in a national book, but bringing it home and quietly having the time to read Tim Howard’s book has been a very rewarding experience. Of course it’s a story of his life in the world soccer stage, but I know that very close to his heart is Tourette/OCD advocacy.
He describes extremely well what it feels like to have tics, sensory issues and compulsions — something that so few people understand. He also describes his own evolution as a TS advocate and wanting to keep that cause central to his work and how that advocacy grounds him.
It’s been 3 years since our trip to the UK to meet Tim Howard. Today, Tess is 15, and is homeschooled; Paige is 11 and attending public school and is thriving. In many ways our trip to meet Tim Howard (and his mom, who is lovely, too) still looms large in our lives.
Here’s are two excerpts from Tim Howard’s new book, “The Keeper,” which came out yesterday, December 9. The first is from the chapter called “Like Coming Home” and talks about arriving at Everton Football Club:
“At the start of the ’06-’07 season, I step out onto the field at Goodison Park, where Everton plays. It’s the derby with Liverpool, the hometown rivals. I love the feel of the place — the rickety old stadium, as historic and un-corporate as they come. I love the fans, their pure, passionate, and deafeningly loud dedication to the team. I love the fact that the team has taken a chance on me, that they’ve pulled me out of a dark place. Standing there on the field, about to play Liverpool, all I want to do is play my heart out. I’ve come home.”
This one is from an early chapter called “Goals That Matter”, when Howard first learned that he had Tourette Syndrome & OCD:
“I struggle in school — I’m hyperactive, and I have trouble sitting in my seat. My mother, aware of my desperate need to move, to run, signs me up for soccer by age 6. I fall in love with the game. I love the fluid back-and-forth, the challenge of playing a game using only one’s feet. By age 11, I begin to show strange behaviors; I touch things compulsively. I become obsessed with picking up random items for no logical reason. Then I develop tics — twitches and jerks that I can’t control no matter how hard I try. Mom and I learn that I have Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The doctor tells my mom that often, these conditions have a “flip side,” and he’s seen cases where kids have special gifts. It is only on the sports fields that I feel relief, so I focus on my athletic skills exclusively….obsessively.”
You can read much more about Tim Howard, who is a Board Member of the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) here:
Youth Advocate Tommy Licato has done a lot of awareness work on behalf of the Tourette Syndrome community for years now — and he’s still in high school. Tommy’s incredible efforts on behalf of the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) once again have yielded an opportunity for people to show their support for TS.
This time, Tommy has teamed up with Mr. Subs of South Plainfield to host a benefit fundraiser on Wednesday, November 5. From 4-8 p.m. that day, 15 percent of all proceeds at Mr. Subs will go toward the 5th annual NJ Walks for TS at Mendham, which supports the NJCTS School In-Service Program.
The School In-Service program educates students and teachers at schools in every corner of New Jersey about Tourette Syndrome, anti-bullying and self-advocacy. Tommy has been attending the walk for years and hopes that you will, too! But if you can’t, this fundraiser is a great way to take part. Or you can donate to the cause.
Mr. Subs is at 100 South Plainfield Avenue in South Plainfield. Hope to see you there on November 5!
It’s been more than six months since I last reached out with my song and video “Wallpaper.” It got more than 30,000 views and some great coverage. I wrote a couple of new songs and even posted a cover (people keep telling me to do that).
I didn’t do videos because I’ve been so busy wrapping up Grade 12, and I also have 2 part-time jobs now. I’m starting Algonquin in September in the School of Media and Design—excited about this!
I’d appreciate it if you’d listen to at least “The Ghost” if you can spare about 3 minutes. Drop me a note in the comments section, too, if you’d like. I always love hearing feedback.