Sean Wants To Be Messi

This guest post about my books was published in "".

When my super-active, jumpy son Rob was four years old, his kindergarten teacher strongly suggested that I have him evaluated for ADHD.

As we both suspected, Rob failed most of the assignments in the test. He wasn’t able to build the required structures out of the provided blocks, arrange the given cards in their correct order, or recite the days of the week.

Finally, the doctor packed up the cards and blocks and told Rob that he could draw while he was talking to his mommy. He nodded to me grimly and sat back at his computer.

He put his hands on the keyboard and was about to begin writing his assessment, when he stopped, turned back to Rob, and asked him if there was anything he particularly loved.
The doctor and I both looked at Rob expectantly, but Rob lowered his head and kept quiet.
I was afraid that he was not going to respond.
But, at last, he did.

“Soccer,” he mumbled quietly under his breath.

“Soccer?” The doctor smiled kindly. “I love soccer, too. Which club are you rooting for?”

Rob looked at me uncertainly and said:

“FC Barcelona.”

“FC Barcelona? What a coincidence! That is my favorite team, too!” exclaimed the doctor. And, for the first time during the session, the doctor seemed genuinely interested.

“Can you tell the names of the Barcelona team players?” the doctor persisted.

To his great delight and amusement, Rob easily recited the first, middle, and last names of each player, as well as which country they were from, and their position on the field.

When he was done with the first team players, he went on to recite the substitutes.
He could also rattle off Leo Messi’s hometown, tell the doctor which famous Argentinian player had just signed a deal with Manchester United, and the name of the new star of Paris St Germain.
I was taken aback.
So was the doctor.
Due to that conversation, he did not diagnose Rob with ADHD.

Instead, we managed to get away with the recommendation to go in for a follow-up test in a year’s time.

I knew then that soccer was going to be my savior.
PS: Today, Rob is in third grade, and he hasn’t been sent for an ADHD evaluation since!

Published previously as a guest post on