And that writer had two perfectly functional typing hands.
Dyami Seehorn doesn’t.
I met the young man, who turned 18 last month, earlier this year when his school assistant approached me about serving as his mentor for his culminating challenge, a project required for graduation in which the student must explore a career of interest.
He wants to be a sportswriter. I’d already seen some of his work and knew it was good.
That’s remarkable enough for a high school student, let alone one who has such severe spasticity that he types by means of pressure pads on either side of his head.
He types by moving his head back and forth to begin words on a computer screen attached to his wheelchair, then selecting the right words as the computer’s predictive text software offers them.
So I was very glad to help with his culminating challenge, and we worked to help him create a professional quality piece of sports coverage for the paper.
Very few are the students who are so skilled that I offer to pay them for future articles, but following Dyami’s coverage of a basketball game, I told him I’d pay him the standard rate we pay freelancers for any more game write-ups he wanted to write. He’s that good.
I really hope that other editors take him seriously. He deserves to succeed as a sportswriter.
I hope that as I would hope for success for any talented and motivated young person.
But people who deal with physical disabilities, like Dyami, have so many frustrations set before them that I doubly wish that he succeeds, because something should serve to offset the staircases and curbs and inconsiderate people and other challenges he has to face on a regular basis.
And I also hope that he is able to experience as much of the activities he enjoys as ever he can.
That’s why I was saddened to get his latest piece of writing.
Here it is in its entirety:
Trying to watch a parade in a wheelchair
By Dyami Seehorn
The Seahawks celebrated their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. On Feb. 5, hundreds of thousands of people lined up from the Space Needle all the way to Centurylink Field to watch the biggest parade in Seattle’s history.
Going from Monroe to Seattle was a disaster; it took me four hours to get there because of traffic. It was backed up from Woodinville all the way to Seattle.
Some people skipped work and some people pulled their kids out of school. But in the freezing cold temperatures in downtown Seattle, people wouldn’t move for a handicap person.
Yep, that would be me.
In the freezing cold and having a lot of people around you, you say to yourself, “There’s no way that I am going to be able to watch the parade from here.”
So you try to move to another location, and still no luck. And finally you say to yourself, “I’d rather watch this on TV.”
Then you go back home and get something to eat, and turn on the TV and watch the rest of the parade and the celebration.
In conclusion, if you see a handicap person at a parade, let them go to the front.
Seattle mostly acquitted itself admirably through the epic post-Super Bowl parade, raising money to repair damaged public structures and cleaning up after the crowds went home.
But I wish the people who could have enabled a young man who loves the Seahawks like no other, and who has such profound limitations on the activities he is able to enjoy, had taken the opportunity to see to it that he got to enjoy the event as much as anyone else.