What the hell does that even mean? My dad would tell me, 'You're not special, Rob. You're different. And different is not bad. Embrace it. Push the limits. And anyone who has a problem with that, prove them wrong. With the help of adaptive technology, he went skiing. And swimming. He learned how to draw and write using his mouth. He towed his friends around the neighborhood on their skateboards. His friends stuffed pillows in his shirt and attached a board to the front of his chair so he could play goalie in street hockey tournaments.
When his friends played basketball, Rob was the referee. One thing the boy clearly didn't lack: confidence. If Rob sensed someone staring, he'd roll up and introduce himself. Still does. Mendez taught himself the game of football by playing Madden on a PlayStation, using his chin and collarbone to push the buttons. It's the second day of the team's sleep-at-school preseason camp, and the coach is trying to install one of his favorite plays: the 37 stretch. His team is a mix of freshmen and sophomores, some with a bit of experience, most with little to none.
The school sits on the western edge of Silicon Valley, just 5 miles from Apple's campus. Its classrooms are a melting pot. Minorities make up 73 percent of the student body. And 26 percent of the school's students are economically disadvantaged. When the players met their new coach, the whispers began. How could someone who had never held a football teach a freshman how to throw, tackle or block? One player quit because of Mendez. But those who stayed learned about their new coach.
He demanded respect, eye contact and accountability. He talked about building a family. Encouraged the group to play for their teammates. And ended each practice with the same message: I love you guys. On this day, one of his freshman quarterbacks struggles to grasp the footwork on the 37 stretch.
Mendez tries to explain, but the kid doesn't get it. Three other players start chitchatting between reps. Mendez loses it. The team jogs over and surrounds him. An assistant coach holds a whiteboard a few inches in front of Mendez. The quarterback removes the cap from a blue dry erase pen and puts it in Mendez's mouth. With the pen, Mendez draws the X's and O's of what the play is supposed to look like and why. We're going to fake it this way and then waggle out," he says. They have to buy the fake. Otherwise it won't work.
Make sense? Mendez struggles to deal with back and neck pain from spending all day in his chair. It's an image his brain can't compute. There have been opportunities over the years to pursue prosthetic limbs, but he has turned them all down. He says he would consider prosthetics only if he ever became a father.
As much as he doesn't want this syndrome to define him, at the same time there's a part of him that loves the fact that it sort of does. I'm in Las Vegas and there's some guy stumbling drunk, looks like he was just in a fight. He sees me, and he stands up straight and pulls himself together so he can open the door for me.
Things like that happen all the time. It gives me hope for the world. But those experiences come at great cost. Most days Mendez has chronic neck, back and shoulder pain. At the end of every day, I'm sore. Mendez operates his cellphone, attached to a stand on his wheelchair, with his nose and lips. He draws and writes with his mouth.
In his chair, he is constantly shifting, twisting and adjusting his posture. On warmer days, he can get bed sores from sitting in the same position too long. He has scoliosis, which makes his spine look far more like an "S" than the "I. When he's away from home, he's careful about what he eats and drinks, often keeping it to no more than an iced coffee.
Otherwise there's the potential he'll need to use the bathroom without McAvoy there to help him. You hear stories about people with cancer, fighting for their lives. I'm fighting to have something to drink. To feel comfortable. So I try not to complain. It doesn't lead to a good place. It just makes me mad. McAvoy has been Mendez's caretaker for the past six years.
Every morning, he helps with just about everything. Going to the bathroom.
FIFA Women's World Cup ™ - News - Differences between men's and women's football - vobylusesuje.tk
Taking a bath. Brushing teeth. Combing hair. Getting dressed.
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Eating breakfast. And buckling Rob into his chair. Once buckled, Mendez says he feels unstoppable. That's how I feel in my chair," he says. Mendez acknowledges that his presence has had a positive impact on people. It's almost midnight. He wanted to leave by 9 p. Now the entire Prospect program circles around Mendez at midfield.
He tells the story of his father putting him on the stairs when he was 9 years old, demanding that he climb to the top. Rob would set his chin on the ledge of the next step and use that to lift his entire body. It took him more than a half hour - sometimes two steps up, one step down -- but he did it. What do you want out of this year? What do you want people to say about this team? How are you going to get there? After his speech, Mendez asks for a ride home.
The battery on his wheelchair is dead, and he wants to charge it at school overnight. I lift him out of his chair and carry him to my car, buckling him into the passenger's seat. As we head back to Gilroy, I ask Mendez if he's aware of the impact he has already had on Prospect players and coaches like assistant Todd Livingston. Livingston told me Mendez's presence is living proof of what humans are capable of. Mendez shakes his head. It's just me. I don't focus on it.
He acknowledges that the attention is often uncomfortable. He's had people who hear his story and then approach him in tears. I mention that one of the themes I'm thinking about for his story is this idea of a beautiful mind. He immediately snaps. I'm not beautiful at all. I don't want to be put on a pedestal. I just want to be Coach Rob. Coach Mendez. I love that.
I don't sign up for being inspirational Rob. But it isn't that simple. The more successful Mendez is at proving he's just like everyone else, the more people put him on that pedestal, peg him as an inspiration and treat him, well, different from everyone else. I think back to something his pediatric physical therapist told me. Benjamin Mandac, Mendez's pediatric physical therapist who now is the head of that department at Kaiser Permanente in the Bay Area. It's society that imposes that grief. We're the ones who feel sorry for them and say, 'Oh you poor thing. Rob is no different. The green mile marker signs fly past on Highway Mendez is hungry.
He needs to use the bathroom. And he doesn't like the idea I have for framing his story. He says if he had arms and legs he has no idea how his life would be different. I ask whether that thought bothers him. And just like that, the man who so often projects like everything is fine rips off his facade. I'm lazy. I haven't graduated college yet. I should have a wife by now. I know I'm good for the kids.
I love the feeling when I lift kids up. But I'm 30 years old and a JV high school football coach. It's an accomplishment to the public because I have no arms and legs, but the reality is I'm not accomplished. And yeah, of course that's frustrating.
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I tell him that's the most honest he's been in our time together. But I don't know what else to say.
In , when the tournament was hosted by Norway, only 4, people attended each game on average, giving total attendance of a little over , people. And there was little television coverage. The Women's World Cup marks the first time that teams will be wearing kits designed specifically for women, instead of "inheriting" shirts and shorts designed for men. One example of this is the work done by Nike, which sponsors 14 out of the 24 teams who will play in France, including three-time winners the USA, hosts France, European champions the Netherlands and Brazil.
Research and design teams took into account women's different needs, such as ease of removal over long hair and shorts that are neither too revealing nor too restrictive. The Netherlands' kit includes their exclusive logo - a lioness that was introduced two years ago to replace the lion used by their country's men's team. That is times less than Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi earns, according to an annual survey published by France Football magazine. The disparity is behind Hegerberg's decision to boycott the World Cup. In she walked away from the Norwegian national team after growing increasingly frustrated with its set-up and what she called a "lack of respect" for female players.
I think we should look at ourselves and what we can do to develop the sport to increase the level and obviously that's to perform, to increase the level.
AFLW now has no female head coaches. Why is leadership in women's sport still a man's world?
That's our biggest job," she told the BBC in May. Heinrichs says the federation employs a large number of women because they have spent the time finding them. Women might send an application out — if they are requested. When US Soccer invited its current coach, Jill Ellis, to apply for the job, the England-born coach first recommended a list of names of other people who it could also approach.
Heinrichs believes men do want to recruit women. You need to keep going. When it comes to female coaches, Germany provide the model England should be following. They are hailed for their succession planning, exemplified by Tina Theune assisting Gero Bisanz from to before taking over, and there began an all-female baton change that would last two decades.
Sylvia Neid followed, assisting Theune from to , before rising to head coach. Even though Neid is still in post until , the federation announced her replacement in March: the former national team defender Steffi Jones. I like to think of the US as a pillar of leadership in a lot of ways but there are ways in which we are lagging behind, one of which is a succession plan and stable coaching. We have more of a carousel of coaches.