We’ve celebrated numerous published articles here that have shined light on important turning points in people’s lives. As readers know, these posts tend to focus on underappreciated contributions to life, especially as they relate to the most vulnerable among us. We all experience moments that matter, turning points in our lives–and other people often are involved. Grace would be the religious term to capture this phenomenon.

Recently, we recognized people who create second (and third and fourth) chances. Face it, we all need those opportunities at different moments in life. This is a great time of year to remind each other of the tender mercies around us. (By the way, if you have never seen the 1983 movie “Tender Mercies,” it’s about time you treated yourself. Robert Duval stars. Great writing and acting. So, that’s my non-Christmas movie suggestion for Christmas. And you don’t have to celebrate Christmas to appreciate this film.

Ubinas
Writer Helen Ubiñas

Biggest tip of the hat for 2019 goes to a writer and to an organization that she wrote about. Philadelphia Inquirer writer Helen Ubiñas wrote earlier this month about the inclusive program run by Blackthorn Rugby Football Club. https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/helen-ubinas-blackthorn-rugby-football-horsham-college-settlement-camp-20191207.html?fbclid=IwAR1boF86weL0VAsZTVzzJfUqXqyjWcMgfYCpTMqdvANwV_7v5q4yDyflg1g

Ubinas inclusive rugby anthem
Members of inclusive rugby team during national anthem

Inclusion brings smiles to all, as the main photo with this post shows. Blackthorn (Philadelphia area) is the first rugby club in the US to create a program for athletes who would not otherwise enjoy the experience of the rugby life. Very proud of my old club and hoping that this beautiful effort will be the beginning of inclusion across the country. Ubiñas’s writing captures the ripple effect on the special needs athletes, their families—and on the coaches, organizers, and supporters.

Ubinas inclusive rugby action with Rod
Coaches On the Pitch Help Guide the New Players
Ubinas inclusive rugby clapping off
Post Match “Clapping Off” of Players

Brava to a writer worth following, Helen Ubiñas (https://www.inquirer.com/author/ubinas_helen/) , and well played to a rugby club that shows that largeness of heart matters.  Photo credits to Tyger Williams.

 

Here’s to all the folks whose work strengthens bonds among us!

 

 

Ned Bachus is the author of Open Admissions: What Teaching at Community College Taught Me About Learning (Wild River Books, 2017) and of the “Turning Points” weekly blog on nedbachus.com. City of Brotherly Love (Fleur-de-Lis Books), his book of stories, was awarded the 2013 IPPY Gold Medal for Literary Fiction. Bachus’s article, “Learning From Turning Points in Our Teaching Lives,” was featured in the May issue of NEA Higher Education Advocate, which reaches over 150,000 college faculty in the U.S. http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/1901eAdvocate_ThrivingFinal.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

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