Thursday, January 7, 2010

Soccer v. Basketball

Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics is an issue that can divide and draw emotional reactions from many of us Living wth the D. For example, this was the focus of a marathon Tweet session with Shannon earlier this week, leading to her awesome and insightful post at LADA-dee-da, and a similar TuDiabetes discussion in the past day or so.
I have my own thoughts on this topic that largely stem from the misconceptions spewed by the general public and media about how "diabetes" all appears to be the same disease of lazy, fat people and if you have it then it's somehow your fault. I take great offense to this: maybe it goes back to the situations as a child when people would say to my mom, upon hearing that she and I were diabetic, that "Oh, well you should have fed him better and he wouldn't have gotten it."

While the D-Community really needs no reminder that no definate causes have been found for either, even though some can link certain lifestyle choices to Type 2, that fact apparently escapes the attention of news media trying to spin a few. As a result, stories such as ABC Nightline's recent "Death By Diabetes" help spread the inaccurate and irresponsible views on this. As depressing as it was to watch, this story enraged me - as a Person With Type 1 Diabetes and as a journalist. The same can be said for most of the newspaper and television stories on this, and that is probably a sad reflection of the inadequate state of our country's Fourth Estate. I've penned a letter to these reporters, their bosses, the American Diabetes Association and JDRF, and a couple journalism organizations and media-watchdogs to bring attention to this - hope to hear something this month.

However, with all of this, I saw what seemed to be the most accurate and applicable analogy that could have been used to describe the differences between Type 1 and 2. Credit goes to Dino, a Type 1 in California who made this point in a blog comment and captured it so well. He says:

"It's like the comparing two athletes: a soccer player and a basketball player.

Things in common: both athletes are playing a game with a ball, tying to score points, running around, playing defense. Differences: one athlete is kicking a ball into a net, the other is throwing a ball into a basket...completely different games.

Can a soccer player and a basketball player work out at the same gym, doing similar routines? YES


Will they both benefit from a healthy lifestyle? YES


Are there rules of universal sportsmanship that both athletes should adopt? OF COURSE

But will a soccer player benefit by practicing basketball free throws? NO


And will a basketball player get better by learning how to bounce a ball off his knee or head? NO

This is why when it comes to MASTERING their respective sports...basketball players play and practice and learn and bond with other basketball players and soccer players do the same on their end. It's natural.

This is why retired soccer players don't coach pro basketball...

Imagine if the general population didn't know, and didn't care to know the differences between basketball and soccer. They just kind of lumped everyone together as "athletes" irrespective of the sport being played. It's just idiotic, and there would be a lot of ticked off "athletes" on both sides.

Saying diabetics are all the same...diabetes is diabetes" is like saying "athletes are all the same...sports are sports."
 True, in a most generalized and ignorant fashion, but utterly and completely wrong in so many ways at the same time.

In the end, as Dino and others say, these are two completely different diseases that share some common elements. We Type 1 Diabetics Who Faced Diagnosis As Young Children didn't have to "re-invent" our established lives as a result of diagnosis, yet those who face that didn't have to lose their childhood to this or have parents who face their own nightmares on a daily basis because of the D. Maybe part of the issue is that Juvenile Diabetes has more of a "face" in those children diagnosed, and in that they have their own organization devoted to those Diagnosed As Children and Type 1 Parents. It's more difficult to define an image for the adult-onset types, and these categories are broadly addressed along with juvenile diabets in the mission of the American Diabetes Association. We all get older and if diabetic will be living with it, while not all adults living with diabetes went through the same hurdles as a child or teen.

But those similarities must be what unites us, and the differences can NEVER be an excuse or justification for exlusion, rudeness, or meanness between the two types. United We Stand, or Divided We Fall, or so it goes. Manny Hernandez, founder of TuDiabetes, says it perfectly and does a remarkable job in this video about the Diabetes Differences and what we can learn from each other. It's worth a listen, and everyone should also take some time to get involved in the TuDiabetes Essay Effort currently underway to share their stories.

Regardless of whether we're a Soccer or Basketball Player, we must all make sure that each group has the chance to work with their sports traineres and coaches and has the right equipment for the game. We're all playing sports, and that unites us and means we can come together in those shared-aspects and help educate those others who may not be aware of or fully understand the differences.

2 comments:

Crystal said...

Great post Mike. Great analogy by Dino too. Well put. Hopefully the masses will catch up. Hope you hear back from those you wrote to also.

Shannon said...

Totally agree! Great post.