By Dave Andrusko
When we switched to a new service, a “freebie” (I think) is access to a gazillion ESPN outlets. You can see college baseball all day long if you like, ditto for college softball.
Flipping channels the other night I briefly saw the LSU baseball team play. As it happens, the ‘ragin cajuns’ are playing Rice in a SEC regional championship game as I am writing this post.
So what does that possibly have to do with us? Glad you asked.
After I caught a glimpse of the game, I happened across “LSU’s indestructible, contact-crazy Beau and Bryce Jordan remain grounded by little brother Brock,” by Chandler Rome.
Beau and Bryce are twins who play for LSU, Brock is their little brother who simultaneously worships them and demands to be treated as an equal. That means lots and lots of physical contact , beginning with wrestling and baseball.
Brock is an amazing young man, who has just finished seventh grade. Brock is “tough,” his brothers say, and sounds as if, for his size, strong as an ox.
In addition, Rome tells us, Brock is possessed of “a near-photographic memory. He created his own sign language at a young age.”
Brock is omnipresent at his brothers’ games and the owner of more baseball bats than most teams (I exaggerate slightly).
Here’s how Rome begins his story of the three brothers.
LAKE CHARLES — The boy who can soften two indestructible twins required a feeding tube throughout his first year of life, has one scar from an open heart surgery down his chest and another on his back from his C4 to L4 vertebrae — scoliosis’ toll on the 10-pound baby Lori Jordan carried to term with no complications.
Brock Jordan spent the first four months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit, shriveling to four pounds from his birth weight.
He has Down syndrome.
There’s another heart surgery coming, too. A leaking valve needs to be corrected, but doctors are comfortable waiting until later in the 15-year-old’s life.
Supporting LSU from head to toe, his brother Beau’s No. 24 on his right arm and Bryce’s No. 25 on the left, Brock’s the first person to answer the door on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.
Like you, I’ve read many stories about children (and adults) with Down syndrome. The best remind us to put away false assumptions: the individual doesn’t need or want “pity,” or to be treated “differently.”
“We never treated him different,” Bryce told Rome. “You wanted him to grow up in a normal atmosphere, we didn’t want to treat him any other way.”
Throughout Brock’s life, people have seen him as a younger brother, whose older brothers love him intensely and treat him as they would want to be treated. There’s this:
When the twins played at Barbe High School, coach Glenn Cecchini, himself a special education teacher, often had Brock in the dugout or as an honorary batboy. Beau and Bryce often led him out to the foul line, standing with the team for pregame ceremonies.
The batter’s box was much closer then, too, and more suitable to Brock’s constant hitting instruction.
“Watching them interact with Brock makes me want to be a better person,” Cecchini said. “Makes me want to be more compassionate, more kind, more loving. How they treated him makes you want to be a better man, husband, coach, brother, better son, better friend. And they never said anything about it.”
Rather than provide a bunch more quotes or paraphrases, let me just encourage you to read Rome’s story.
And, if I may put in a plug, Go Ragin Cajuns!