Someone I Look Up To and Why – by Jake M

My name is Jake and I’m going to write about a person I see as a role model. That person is Hilary Knight. She plays for the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team. She’s really good. Knight has won 4 Olympic Medals. Three of them are Silver and the other is Gold. She has also played for the U.S. at the Ice Hockey World Championships. She helped the U.S. win 8 World Championships and three runner-up finishes at the World Championships. She’s a role model for me because she is really talented. She is also a good role model because she is a great ambassador for women’s hockey as she helped form the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, which is organized as a nonprofit organization geared towards establishing new opportunities for women to play hockey. Hilary Knight also does NHL commentary on ESPN.


The Time I Met Olympic Gold Medalist Jade Carey by Jake M

I don’t know how many people can say they met an Olympic Gold Medalist, but I can. It was a really cool experience that I won’t forget. The Gold Medalist’s name is Jade Carey. She is a gymnast representing the United States and she’s from Arizona. She was a very nice person to meet. I am going to tell you my experience meeting her.

As some of you might already know, I am an employee for the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the different games, the Diamondbacks have ceremonial first pitches, and during an August home game, they had Olympic Gold Medalist Jade Carey throw out the first pitch. I was working my shift that night. During my shift, I decided to go to the spot where Jade was sitting so that I could meet her. I introduced myself and told her that I work for the team. I told her I was impressed with her cartwheel that she performed in the process of throwing out the first pitch. Then I told her she did a good job at the Olympics, and that it was cool having a Gold Medalist that is a resident of Phoenix. After that, I went back to work.

Later in the game, after I finished working, I asked if I could have a picture with her. She said yes. So my mom took a picture of me with Jade. It was a really cool experience all around. It’s a good bonus of working for the Diamondbacks because you never know who you’ll meet.

SPORTS WORKSHOP at SEEDs for Autism Hosted by Jake M

A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.
Joe DiMaggio

Communication skills, flexibility, organization, and the ability to inspire and motivate others are just some of the qualities of being a great leader. At SEEDs for Autism we work to develop these skills in our participants, and encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone with confidence. Jake has demonstrated great leadership abilities, and we were excited to provide him with an opportunity to lead a workshop and share his knowledge and love of sports with his peers. We asked Jake to share his thoughts on his experience.

Hi my name is Jake. I’m writing to talk about a sports workshop that I taught. During the covid-19 pandemic, Seeds has been doing online learning with lessons and zooms with teachers. There also have been different extracurricular zooms. Some of those include movie club, Disney parks club, writing, and others. These are all teacher led. Now Seeds is looking to have student led workshops, and I got to do a sports workshop, which was great because I love sports.

Before I presented the sports workshop in front of my peers, I had to take various steps to prepare. These steps include picking a topic, doing research, finding fun videos, making a slideshow, and doing a practice run with the staff. I also had to make sure I picked questions to get student engagement.

In order to come up with a topic, I sat down and brainstormed ideas and wrote those ideas on a notepad. I picked the best topic and began researching it. I went online to find links and videos to provide information on the chosen topic. The topic I picked was amazing sports plays.

Once I finished my research, I inserted that information into a slideshow using google slides. I had to organize the information in a way that would make sense when explaining to the class. I also had to find fun videos to watch. Part of the assignment for this workshop required me to come up with questions so that the students can be involved.

Once I finished making the slideshow and was ready to present, I did a dry run with the staff members. This helped me receive great feedback, and gave me more confidence before presenting.

The day of the sports workshop was great because I was ready to present. The group was small. I think the workshop was a success because all of the students were very engaged and answering the questions. Some of the students had questions for me to answer, which was good because that means it was a give and take workshop and the students wanted to learn more about sports. It was a success.

This workshop allowed me to share my interest and was good for practicing my presentation skills.

An informative slide from Jake’s presentation

Jake shares video footage of amazing plays with workshop attendees

DANNY (Social Skills Instructor at SEEDs)
As an instructor the best moments are when the students exceed expectations set by others and demonstrate their ability to overcome the fears and uncertainty of self-growth and mastery. Jake, a model example of hard-work and flexibility, did an exemplary job with creating and leading the sports workshop. He took the feedback from other staff and incorporated his own ideas into an engaging and informative lesson about various historical moments. Although I knew he was nervous, it wasn’t obvious. He asked great questions to the other students, made an effort to engage EVERYONE who attended and utilized all of the skills he has learned over the years. To say that I am proud of Jake would be an understatement. Many educators struggle with connecting to students and allowing their passion of a subject to shine through but Jake seemed to have a natural ‘feel’ of the qualities. While the workshop was fairly small due to there being other options at the same time each student shared appreciation for his work and lesson. I’m excited to hear what his next workshop will be about and can’t WAIT to attend!

Image from Jake’s Daily Sports Report: from left to right: Luke Weaver (starting pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks), Jake M. (winning the Employee of the Month for the 50/50 raffle staff), Derrick Hall (President and CEO for the Arizona Diamondbacks).
Jake’s Daily Sports Report


This article was featured in an issue of the SEEDs for Autism Newsletter. If you would like to subscribe and hear more stories from SEEDs participants, please visit our websiteThank you!

Aaron Fotheringham: An Inspiring Athlete by Anna P

Aaron Fotheringham: Flipping Perceptions | Ever Widening Circles

Aaron Fotherinhman is an inspiring athlete and founder of WCMX (sport using wheelchairs by using forms from skateboarding and BMX.)  Born November 8 ,1991, he was born with Spinda Bifida, a birth defect which made him unable to move his legs. However this did not let Aaron down. As a child he would chase other friends on their bikes and refused to be in a special gym class for people with disabilities. One day his brother who was a BMXer said  he should try to skate with his wheelchair. He failed at first but tried again and again until he succeeded. He is now a celebrity athlete known for using a custom made wheelchair and performing with the wheelchair . Doing stunts like black flipping, double backflipping, and when he joined Nitro Circus Live Tour, he went over a fifty foot mega ramp and jumped the ramp going straight. Most people would not except someone in a wheelchair to do this. But Aaron Fotheringham did. Just showing that using a wheelchair he can do skater moves, he can let others see it’s not impossible for them to do similar things with their disabilities. Aaron or his nickname Wheelz is an inspiring athlete that I hope many non athletes and alike will try to see him in person for his amazing talent and perhaps give them encouragement that they to can do things with their disabilities or problems.

Under the Sun by Sydney

Once upon a time…………………….

There was a hunchback named Tyler, who was shunned due to his appearance, until, one day, he saw a young woman named Ginger, who had a beautiful smile. They decided to fly to Milan and spend the summer there, basking in the sunlight and ocean waves. They also agreed to get married in Frankfort, Germany. They adopted quintuplets from France and also adopted a litter of 115 dalmatians. They lived in a huge mansion in Barcelona, Spain. They went skydiving in Japan and dived for pearls too. They hiked to the top of Mount Everest, where they held a wine tasting party. They also learned how to operate a twin engine jet ski. They ziplined across the Grand Canyon and bungee jumped into a dormant volcano. They did a lot of wild and crazy things together. They decided to work together in a bakery and created the world’s biggest red velvet cake. It was the size of a mountain. They invited everyone in Eastern Europe to eat the cake. Tyler and Ginger went white water rafting down the Colorado River in June for 2 weeks in a pair of small boats.

The Peanut Butter Falcon movie review by Sydney

A truly inspiring story , THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON is the story of Zak, a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to achieve his dream of being a student at the professional wrestling school of his idol, The Salt Water Redneck. A unique turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler, a small time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they embark on a wild adventure together and cross paths with Eleanor, a worker at the nursing home, who was charged with finding Zak and bringing him back there. But no one had ever asked Zak what he wanted to do, so he threw the car keys into the river and she was forced to go with them on a homemade raft down the river. Their journey was certainly wild. In my opinion, the movie should be 100 stars because it was a perfect example of the struggles some people face every day. One of the things that was so amazing about the movie was the fact that one of the actors had Down Syndrome, which made the movie even more fascinating.Image result for peanut butter falcon

I think there should be more opportunities in the movie,t.v. and music industries for people with challenges.  The movie offered a unique insight into the world of people with special challenges. There are many different kinds of people who don’t often get a chance to really be heard. If only people would stop being prejudiced and really listen, the world would be a better place.

Bob Brenly


Jake M.

Image result for bob brenly

Bob Brenly is an American TV broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks. His first stint with the team was from 1998-2000. He is now back as a TV commentator for the team since 2013. He also spent eight seasons broadcasting for the Chicago Cubs from 2005-2012.

Prior to his career in journalism he played as a catcher for the San Francisco Giants from 1981-1988 (All-Star in 1984) and the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989 before being traded back to the Giants in the same year.

He also coached the Diamondbacks from 2001-2004 during which he lead the team to their first and only World Series Championship victory in 2001

Zack Greinke: Depression and Social Anxiety

By Jake M.

Zack Greinke is my favorite member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s pitched 14 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) and three with Arizona (2016-present). His career accomplishments include being a five-time all-star, 2013 silver slugger, 2009 CY Young Award winner, four-time Gold Glove winner, two-time MLB leader in ERA, and 44th on the all-time career strikeouts list (2,435). He’s a workhorse and considers himself a student of the game. He’s also been diagnosed with Depression and Social Anxiety Disorder.

Zack Greinke’s struggle with depression caused him to miss portions of the 2005 and 2006 seasons and at one point during that stretch considered quitting baseball. He was also defined as socially awkward by fellow team members of the Kansas City Royals, whom he played for from 2004-2010. As recently as March 2018 Zack Greinke had to answer reporters questions about his low velocity numbers. He expressed in an interview that “I always get nervous prior to the start of every season and that it’s just something I have to deal with and my biggest concern is that I won’t be ready for the start of the season.” – USA Today March 8, 2018.

Zack Greinke’s ability to persevere through tough times and continue on to have a decent career should serve as inspiration to other people who struggle with various forms of Bipolar, Depression or Anxiety.

NCAA: The Profit Machine

By Jake M.

I’ve been a big fan of college sports since I was eight years old. I always supported Arizona State University (ASU) athletics. There are many reasons to watch college sports from atmosphere to hot dogs but my favorite part of college sports is the purity of sports. Student athletes play for the love of the game and the fans rather than money. Unfortunately, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) doesn’t share the same view. The NCAA has turned from student athlete driven to profit driven.

In the 2015 fiscal year, the 231 Division one (D-1) programs amassed a total $9.15 billion. 24 D-1 schools make upwards of $100 million compared to most programs that make $50 million or less. The NCAA March Madness produces roughly $900 million making it the most profitable. Most of the money for March Madness comes from CBS and Time Warner.

College football is also a good avenue. The top six college bowl game payouts per team ranges between $4 million to $6 million. The universities receive this money so there is no guarantee that all profits will be put back into the athletics department.

Just because college sports is a multi-billion dollar industry doesn’t mean everyone wins. In fact the biggest losers are the athletes. The athletes play for free due to the “students before athletes” ideology while they are being coached by men who earn multi-million dollar salaries. The argument is further extended by the emphasis on the word “scholarship” in athletic scholarship.

Another reason why people are against paying athletes is for the concern of bribery of players and other incentives that could manipulate the recruiting process. While this is a legitimate concern, with the right regulations in place we can protect the integrity of the recruitment and provide fair compensation to the players.

The farther a team advances the more money they make. Championship teams make the most. Fair compensation for student athletes should be dependent on a team’s success. Teams in college basketball, for example, should give athletes a 10% share for advancing through the first and seconds rounds. A team that advances to the third round should compensate athletes 15%. Finally, teams advancing to the quarterfinals or beyond should give athletes a 20% compensation. In football, each of the four teams selected to compete in the playoffs should award athletes 10% of the profits and the runner-up should payout athletes 15% and the Champion should payout 20%. Players deserve their fair share. Those who’re resistant to this concept are making it sound more complicated than it really is.