Swim Team (2016) Movie Script

I'm not like other teenagers.
I'm autistic.
When I'm swimming,
I feel normal.
It feels amazing
from when I swim.
If you want gold medals,
you have to work hard
and train hard.
Well, that's my dream.
So I want to become faster
than Michael Phelps,
and I want to be the second one
that people will crowd
and want to cheer me.
It made me feel tough to do
that freestyle breaststroke.
The correct way is,
like, 100 percent.
The front stroke may be
a little bit tough,
but the breaststroke
maybe really hard.
That's going to make me feel
tired if I do any competing,
what makes me tired
when I'm doing competing
at the swim meet.
All right, boys. Listen up.
We want to make Mike...
We want him proud.
So, you have to give...
Do it fast as you can.
Mike, he's doing back,
and him doing a breast.
For me, I'll do fly,
and the last is freestyle.
So, guys, give it
the best as you got.
-All right.
-Who's with me?
-All right.
Inside a bomb is a type of...
It has diamonds.
I should not say that in
Right? We're going to swim
until we win. Right?
-You know it.
-Right? We're going for gold?
Check it out, Robert.
-They're amateur.
-We are what?
What are we called?
-The Jersey Hammer shark heads.
-The Hammerheads.
Hammerheads is a word...
-It's a shark.
We are the sharks. You know it.
Also, here comes the jersey.
And I love
your leather jacket.
You earned it. Right, buddy?
A hundred dollars.
But I'm saying
you earned your jacket.
Look at that.
That is awesome, Robert.
-It's beautiful.
-Isn't that beautiful?
-That is awesome.
Our team, they're all autistic.
They all have some type
of autism spectrum disorder,
which is not very common
for a swim team.
I'm going to introduce you
to my husband,
who's the head coach.
Mike, this is Marisol.
Hey. How are you doing,
-Mike, this is Jay.
-Jay, how are you?
You going to swim
with us this year?
One time or other, all of our
kids have been ostracized,
and for them to be a part
of the team is unbelievable.
Let's spread out just
a little bit, just a little bit,
just a little bit,
just a little bit,
just a little bit,
just a little bit, little bit.
Everybody, touch the sky.
Touch the sky,
high as you can go.
Hold it. Hold it.
Hold it. Hold it.
Hold it!
Okay. Good guys.
Welcome. Thank you guys
for coming today.
So we are now called
the Jersey Hammerheads.
So we're sharks now.
-It's easy.
-Yeah, son.
And there's a float.
And there's a float.
You're going to swim
if it kills me.
-Yeah. Don't you worry.
-Listen to me. Listen to me.
Our kids, they love the water.
God forbid they happen
to go to the water,
and they jump in the pool
if they didn't know how to swim.
They couldn't help themselves.
They'd drown.
Give me your hand.
Do not touch those ropes.
Are you ready?
I'm going to give you a push.
-One, two, three. Push.
-Go. You better swim.
You better swim!
I can't save you!
You better swim!
Arms over the top, over the top!
What are you saying?
As a mom
with an autistic child,
we always knew, because we had
a pool, that Michael had
to learn to swim, had to.
Mikey, now good kick. You got
to kick hard off the wall.
Ready? Swimmers on your mark.
The doctors told us
that Michael would never talk.
He would never be able
to change his own pants,
that he would never be
and I think it just took
trail and error for me
and my wife not giving up
so that he would do more.
We said, "We're not going
to give up on him.
He can do something. We just
have to spend time with him."
Look at me. Do the backstroke
going down at one arm.
One-arm catch-up,
one-arm catch-up.
Swimmers on your mark. Go!
His swimming has improved
tremendously. He loves it,
and we wanted the opportunity
for him to continue swimming.
This hand comes across
and over top, okay?
Push off the wall. Push!
So my husband and I
got our own Special Olympics
swim team.
No slap, no slap,
Over the top,
face in the water!
Breathe! Breathe!
There you go! Swim!
Coaching a special-needs team
versus a regular swim team,
it's night and day.
Every kid in the pool
is different.
Getting with kids
that have never swam
or are afraid of the water,
they have sensory issues
as far as touch, sound.
You have to have patience.
Four-laps freestyle.
Not so fun.
I want you to try it
for me, okay?
-I'm still your friend.
-You're always my friend.
Try it for me, please?
No. I don't want to do it.
-Hey, listen.
-Hey, two laps.
Let's do 50 free
and 50 breaststroke.
You like the breast.
-No. No, I don't.
Let's try it.
What are you going
to do for me then?
I need you to swim.
I want to try one time
because I won't like that much.
Okay. Let's do two laps then.
-Two laps.
Swimmers on your mark.
Hate that one.
You love the breaststroke.
Come on.
-I'm still...
-You ready?
You ready? Here we go.
Swimmers on your mark.
Go! Go!
Just have to work
with him a little bit.
He's good, though.
We have zero money. Okay?
So we're going to have to fund
raise, fund raise, fund raise.
All right? Everybody here
needs new swim gear.
We got to get that.
We want everybody
to get a bag like that.
Okay? You know, that's my goal.
I want everybody
to look uniform.
I want everybody to have
the same of everything.
There's three competitions
that we do.
The first is called the Area.
Then the Sectional is bigger,
and then you have the big daddy,
which is the summer games.
That's the entire state
of New Jersey.
You're giving kids
an opportunity.
I mean, I see the...
Michael wouldn't have had
the opportunity
if it wasn't for my wife and any
other people that got involved.
There would be no opportunity.
Underwater, I sound like a
fish, like, really fast and all.
And I come up like
a dolphin or a seal.
And I go fast like a whale.
See you!
So I have a timeline up here.
So you can go over the millions,
and you can name four lines
with your ruler, in green,
and each represents
200,000 years.
Okay. So let's take
a look at 2.4.
Where would that be located
if we're looking
at a million years ago?
-It's right here.
-Well, here's your 2.
-So we're going back
in time, so 2 million.
And each one is how much?
-Well, 2, right?
-Well, yeah.
-So this is 2.2.
-Two-point... Yeah.
-Two, right?
-Then 2-point...
-No. Each one is 2.
-We have to fight every step
of the way to get the services
that we needed for Michael...
Speech therapy,
occupational therapy,
physical therapy,
a trained aide.
We had to hire an advocate.
Everything has a cost,
and it's a big cost,
but, you know,
we do what we have to do.
You know, we borrowed money.
You know, I even told
my husband,
"If we have to sell the house,
we'll sell the house."
Do we even need
to go over that far?
So you can put a line pretty
close to that tick mark there.
He's a senior now.
He's graduating from
high school in a few months,
but he's not ready for college.
And we don't know
if he can get a job.
He was about 21/2,
2, 21/2 years old.
He just stopped talking.
He went from trying to say,
"Mom" and "Dad,"
not to saying anything, and then
loved to be alone after that,
always liked to be alone.
Just started lining toys up,
animals up, cars,
but the main thing was animals.
He would line everything up,
and if you moved it,
he would know exactly
that something was missing.
When I was a little kid, my
favorite animals were elephants.
Now my favorite
animals now are apes.
I got this elephant
from Puerto Rico
when I was little
and this little Chihuahua
named Cookie.
I used to play
with my little sister.
This little Dalmatian
with a green shirt.
This Dalmatian was my cousin's,
and his name was Poochie
because, you know, dog, pooch.
My Rottweiler, bull terrier,
black Lab,
a little capuchin monkey.
He's also a capuchin,
vervet monkey, blue macaw.
This is my orangutan.
This is my duck, my zebra.
This is my teddy bear.
It has my name on it, Michael.
Be the flying squirrel.
Swimmers on your mark.
Go! Jump out.
Better. That's better. Come on.
You got to be the squirrel.
You got to get some air, okay?
Be the squirrel,
flying squirrel. Out you go.
And there's not a day goes by
that me and my wife
don't go through
something with him.
The most recent thing
that happened to us is,
come home at night.
Michael got through swimming.
He's up in his room, go knock
on the door and walk in.
He's crying. I go, "What are you
crying for?" And he said...
He looked at me and said,
"Why did God make me different?"
And you look at him. He said,
"Why did God make me different?"
He goes, "Why did God
make me different, Dad?
Why am I autistic?
What did I do wrong?"
My God. What are you
supposed to say to your kid?
And Michael knows he's autistic.
He knows he's different,
you know.
Me and my wife looked at each
other and tears in our eyes,
and we said,
"Because you're special.
God made you special,
and that's why you're different.
Not every kid can be special."
And he was good with that,
and that was the truth.
You know, he is special.
You guys can't
do this, killing me.
But that's one of
the most recent things,
and I told him that,
"You keep swimming
the way you're swimming,
a lot of normal boys
can't do what you do."
For me, it's not about
fun time.
It's about training.
You need to work hard for it.
No intervals.
Just do it right.
Three, two, hit it!
Our mission statement is,
"Success at the national
and international levels."
We've had kids
at Olympic trials.
We've had Olympic medalists.
My proudest thing about Robbie
is that if I said,
"Pick out the kid
that was also competing
in the Special Olympics,"
you couldn't look over
there and pick him out.
He just blends right in.
Robbie is swimming 2 hours
a day, 6 days a week.
He's swimming for three teams.
he swims for the high school,
and he also swims
for the Hammerheads.
Robbie was first diagnosed
with autism around 18 months.
He was close to 2 years old.
What I heard was
very frightening.
They spoke about mental
retardation, how he was not
going to be able to speak
or function like typical kids.
I was in school,
and I decided
to drop college to raise him.
Everybody, count your strokes!
He has showed improvement,
but we have
a long journey to go.
He's in the 11th grade,
and, for example, reading,
he's at a fourth-grade level.
So what classes you have
today, Robbie, in school?
Just drawing, printing,
health class,
math, English, and history.
-How was your printing class?
Because I know you like
that class, right?
-Just I work hard in printing.
-You worked really hard?
What you did today?
Just picked a comic
to print the characters.
-You have to draw them?
Which one did you pick?
In health,
what did they talk about?
-It's about the sex movie.
-The sex movie?
They sent to a web site, and
they also talk about the HIV.
The HIV. Okay. Okay.
What is... What did
they tell you about HIV?
It's about doctors,
so they tell about doctors
and tell you about sex.
-Yeah, like, drunk stuff.
Did you understand
what they meant?
-Just I don't know.
-You don't know?
It was a lot of information?
-Too much information.
-Too much information, okay.
Just I don't
like health class.
You don't like health class?
-Well, I didn't know
they were going to
teach you about sex, Robert.
Did they talk to you about that?
-They told me.
They told us.
-I don't feel like talking.
I didn't know that
they were going to...
Sit over here with me,
I mean, if you're not ready
to talk about it, it's fine.
I understand.
The reason why I chose Robert
to join the Hammerheads
is because Robert doesn't know,
right now, that he has autism.
Robbie feels that he's a typical
kid, and he has never asked me,
is there something
different about him?
I don't want to break his heart,
but he needs to know.
Kelvin is autistic.
He also have Tourette Syndrome.
-I know!
-No... bitch!
-No, no. Stop.
Stop. Right.
In the water, stay in the water.
I need you in the water.
He has body tics
and vocal tics.
Swimmers on your mark.
Go! In!
But he cannot control that.
He's not doing those on purpose.
No. No, no. No.
-That's very dangerous.
-That's very dang...
Going to hurt yourself.
I know. I know the tics
bother you, but you're okay.
Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!
Hey. You guys are getting
timed on this today.
He has two disability,
so he's kind of balancing
each other on and off.
he's getting more tics.
Maybe he has more tics,
then he doesn't have the time
to do the autism thing.
You say the F word?
I'm sorry. I curse a lot.
Let's go, in the water.
Vincent, in the water.
-Don't you ever say the F word.
Twenty-five-meter breaststroke,
25-meter free coming back.
-Swimmers on your mark. Go!
Last night,
I was feeling stress.
I'm not telling you I hate you.
Are you supposed to do that?
You're not supposed to say that.
No. No.
Sometimes, say,
"I want to kill you,"
but it wouldn't be very nice.
I might get in trouble.
So what do you do
when you get angry, Kel?
-Just do right thing.
-What is the right thing to do?
Right thing you have to do
is some... do right choice.
You have to do something...
If I tell someone I feel angry,
we should use anger management.
Anger management! Yes.
Sometime, when you guys
were not home,
sometimes, I was home by myself.
Sometimes, I yell
around the whole house.
Sometimes, I feel frustrated.
-Some day when you're not home.
That's why I got it
out of my system.
When I feel angry,
I just don't feel...
I don't like stuff.
I don't like...
Or maybe want to shout, yelling
around when I feel pissed off
when I'm yelling around
the whole house.
That's how they make me crazy.
If you remind him to wash
his hands, he gets mad.
If you remind him,
"It's time to go to bed,"
he gets mad.
If you remind him, say,"
the bus, school bus, is here."
And he just say,
"You don't tell me what to do!"
Like this, over here, okay.
You got to see right here.
There's a hole behind it.
And the holes behind this
and that and this.
He's got a really powerful arm
and a big strength,
and that's one of the holes
that he make.
And see this?
This, like,
very solid, solid wood,
and he just kicked the door
and these holes,
and like this, a punch.
This is a kick, and it's broken.
I don't really have a strategy.
Sometimes, we just try
to scare him, say,
"Kelvin, we're going to
call the policeman.
If we call 911, and police found
you hurt us, hurt anybody,
you're going to be in jail.
You cannot come back home."
And Kelvin likes...
He likes the policemen,
but he also understand,
you know, that jail life
is not that pleasant.
So he will say,
"Please, don't call police."
He say, "No. Don't call police."
Kelvin was
typical-developed baby.
I still remember Grandpa
hold his little, tiny hand
and walk up the stairs,
and he was counting.
He was learning counting
in Chinese with Grandpa.
After he turns 2,
the world changed.
He lost his vocabulary.
He didn't talk.
He needs to pull me
and scream and cry,
and I couldn't understand him,
what his needs.
And when he frustrated,
he'd bump his head on the wall.
I didn't know
what happened, and...
We went to different doctors.
We've tried different
kinds of medicines
and different combination
of the medicine,
different dosage
of the medicine.
The medication has no impact.
We seen his reduction of tics
and anger through swimming.
All right. Here we go!
Here we go! Let's go! Let's go!
Let's go! Let's go!
You guys practicing for
second place or first place?
-All right. Let's go.
Here we go.
Swimmers on your mark.
-Now it's crunch time.
We got Areas next week,
so that's our first swim meet
is on the 23rd,
so Sunday, so everybody
has got to come next week.
We got a couple kids that are
going to be missing today,
so everybody has got
to be onboard next week
because it's crunch time.
No, I'm not competitive,
but I am.
Kelvin, let's go!
Matthew, let's go!
I am.
All right. Turn around.
Turn around. Listen. Listen.
I said, "Swimmers on your mark."
When the gun goes off, bang,
you got to jump out.
You got to jump out.
Lock that hand like this.
Show me.
Show me your hands locked.
You got to tuck.
You got to jump out.
You don't jump down.
We're jumping out.
Look out. Don't look down.
-Look out!
-Look out!
Here we go!
These are the swim pants
everyone is getting.
-All right? Cool?
You cannot wear
this for practice.
All right? You got it?
-Got it.
-Jersey Hammerheads. Yes?
No practice. You can't wear
that for practice.
You cannot wear that
for practice.
But you can bring the bag, okay?
-You can bring the bag.
-That's like a schoolbag.
-Well, yeah.
It's something like...
But it's a swim bag.
It's like a backpack.
You're right. All right?
So now I'm going to start
giving them out, okay?
I want you to take
care of these.
-And do not lose it?
Don't lose it.
The goals are to get
these kids in the water,
let the parents know that
these kids can do something.
I mean, the kids are going
to have a good time
whether they're good,
they're bad,
they come in first,
they come in last.
It's the parents seeing that
their kids can do something
and socializing with other kids
that are special needs.
That's a big thing for us,
because a lot of these kids
don't have friends.
They're all isolated at home.
-Jersey Hammers.
Jersey Hammers?
One, zero...
-See? Awesome.
-Yeah. That was fun.
-Zane, good job.
Hey, man. High five.
Good job.
These are for you.
Nice, right?
Think about swimming.
You're ticing.
You keep ticing.
What are you thinking about?
Think about swimming.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Kelvin, take your shirt off.
So has been 10 years.
We cannot go to a restaurant, to
the stores, to the public area.
He didn't want to go with us.
Do this. Okay?
Can I see that one more time
what you're doing?
We really want him
to enjoy the swim team.
We parents can get together.
We can share our experience
and laugh and cry together.
Meeting these other moms has
been a learning lesson for me,
and it has taught me
that I am not alone.
Everybody okay? Smile.
Number one!
Now declare the 2014
Area Five Swim Meet Open!
All right. Let's smoke them.
All right?
Let's go with it. Are you ready?
But I almost kissed a guy.
No. That's okay.
I want you to swim fast.
All right?
Go. Go. Go. Go. Go.
Come on! Arms! Arms!
So many people don't give our
kids a chance to do anything.
To be in this arena,
and they're actually
competing with one another
and actually accomplishing
something that they couldn't do,
swim 25 meters, swim 50 meters,
swim 100, 200 meters.
This is what our kids are doing.
-Way to go! Yay!
-Thank you, I just won the race.
Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.
Let's go. Let's go.
Give me some.
Give me some.
All right. Let's go.
Hey, listen. Come here, guys.
-Listen, listen.
-Brad Pitt.
-Kelvin, you're first.
-Hayden, you're second.
Michael, you're third.
Robert, you're going to
bring it home. You're first.
You got to turn it
loose now, okay?
Not give up.
As fast as you can go.
Don't give up.
-Don't give up.
-Try not to give up.
No. I want you
to swim fast now, fast.
-When you get down there,
flip and come back hard
to me, okay?
All right. Let's go.
-On your marks.
-Let's go now. Let's go now.
-All right?
Everybody, let's go.
Right. Hey.
Here you go.
-Take your marks.
-Go, go, go!
Go, go, go, go,
go, go, go, go, go!
Pull, Kelvin! Pull!
Come on! Pull!
Go, go, go, go, go!
Let's go, Hayden!
Go, Hayden!
All right, Mike!
Go as fast as you can go.
Go, go, go, go.
You got it. You got it!
Come on, up and down!
Pull! Yeah, pull!
Come on, Mike! Swim!
You got to pull! Pull! Go! Go!
Stroke, stroke!
Come on, Robbie! Go!
Come on, Rob! Pull!
Come on, Robert!
All right. That way. That way.
Switching time. Come on, Rob.
Come on, Rob.
Put your hands up here.
Hammerheads on three.
One, two, three.
Good job. Good job.
Good job.
-What was your time?
-Good job.
Go over and get your medal.
What was the time?
Three minutes.
Let's go. The fab four.
Did you say the F word?
-I'm sorry.
-F word! F word!
It's okay. It's okay.
It's bound to erupt.
Congratulations, guys.
Good job. Nice.
Officer, what are you
doing here?
I'm giving you awards.
It's okay.
You can... It's all right.
Guys, look over here,
get your hands up.
Kelvin, hands up.
-All right.
-You guys are great.
Nicely done, guys.
That means we don't need
to do the theater anymore?
Not today.
Someone else is going
to do the theater today.
Okay. Yeah, yeah.
Okay, yeah, yeah, right.
All right.
Brian, I'm about to be
finished up for sweeping
You did a good job sweeping.
-Did a good job?
-I need you to go back here,
clean behind the snack
counter for me now.
-Okay. Sure.
-All right.
Needs to be filled already?
I got a refill for you.
It's good for you.
Thank you, Brian.
Job security.
Job security. There's no issue.
I'm sorry. Thank you, Brian.
Good job, yeah.
Looking good. Don't forget
to clean the grates, right?
-Clean these off.
-You're right.
-And clean these off, okay?
This one here?
-Yep. Here, let me see.
-You can check it out.
It's okay.
-You can actually lift it up.
-You're right.
-Clean it like that.
Shoot. Forgot.
Not yet. Boom.
I'm 32. No.
I'm just joking. Not 32.
I'm pregnant!
No, just joking.
I'm not pregnant.
He's 22 now.
He's an adult, but he cannot
just go out and live on his own.
So that glass
on the other side.
-Yeah, sorry, sorry, sorry.
We apply to group home
through our state.
The total is,
it's like 8,000-something.
Even priority list,
that's like 4,000-something,
and our first year,
they just placed,
like, 20 of them.
So I figure, when Kelvin
turns 220 years old,
he may get the spot,
you know, in a state group home.
No, no, no, n-no, no.
I can't do that.
If I do that like that,
get in trouble.
Don't get in trouble.
Three 100s, freestyle.
Work on flip turns.
-No. I don't like that.
-You have to try it.
I know we don't like it,
but remember what we told you.
What we don't like,
we have to do.
-Work on flip turns.
-I still love you.
-Go, go. I love you, too.
Do we need to do
freestyle four times?
After the swim team meet,
Kelvin had problem with it.
He didn't want to go swimming.
Come on! I hate this.
Go, Kelvin! Go!
I'm really tired.
I don't want...
The coach, I mean, asks us
whether he wanted to swim,
and I talked to him.
He said he doesn't want to swim.
And we asked him why.
He mentioned about,
'cause swim team,
they need to participate
in the Special Olympic game.
He complained
it's always a long wait.
He didn't know
how to occupy himself.
He was concerned
about his tics.
In that situation, he couldn't
get his personal distance.
I pretty much get him
one step at a time.
I asked him whether,
if he go to,
just go swimming practice
instead of going to the meet.
Don't think about the meet,
and just go practice.
And he's like,
"Okay, go practice."
He just wanted to come
and practice with the team
but not participate
in competition,
so we told him
that's not how it works.
You know, we told him
in layman's terms,
"If you want to be part of
the team, Jersey Hammerheads,
you have to come to practices,
and you have to compete."
Coach gave us an ultimatum
and said, "Okay.
If you don't want to go to meet,
you cannot join a team."
He didn't want to go.
We tried very hard
to persuade him once, you know,
so the third time charm,
and we picked the battle.
We gave up sending him
for the swim team practice.
See? I got it.
See? I got it off here. See?
I will do that.
I don't feel the school
is doing their job with him.
There's no resources
for these children.
They talk to us about,
"We will send him to Walmart
so he can learn how to stock."
That's not what we want.
Design games,
that's what I'd love to do.
If you want to make characters,
first, you
need to use one of those papers.
So you need to...
I'm drawing, like, maybe Mario.
So you have to copy it
and copy it,
so you have to make movements,
like, my hands
moving and moving.
So you need to flip it over,
like, flip it.
That's how you do it.
So that's what I do.
Arts and animation,
computer, that's my skills.
Robbie is in a system.
They're just going to pass him
through a system
where you took math,
reading, and all these courses,
and here you go.
You graduate with a diploma,
but they're not really
giving him what he needs.
Where is he going to work? What
is he going to do for a living?
They're not giving him
the skills,
and they're not targeting
where it will help him
maybe get a job in something
that he has a passion for.
Mike turns 18 in July,
I'll just shut this off?
Sorry about that.
So once a person turns 18
in New Jersey, they're an adult,
and they have the right to make
the decisions in their lives
that the parents had the rights
to make up until the age of 18,
so things like whether
he goes to school,
where he goes to school,
what medical treatment
he gets, where he lives.
You know, all these things
become his decisions...
-At the age of 18.
A typical 18-year-old,
we're going to expect
it's going to lean on mom
and dad to some extent.
There are certainly plenty
that can make those
decisions on their own,
but when you throw in the fact
that somebody has a disability,
then we have to think about
whether they have the capacity
to make decisions and to protect
their self-interests
by making good decisions.
The guardianship takes
his decision-making abilities
and transfers it
to the guardianship.
Once the judge appoints you
as guardians, then, as I said,
you have all those rights
to make the decisions for Mike.
Tell me a little bit about Mike
before we dive into it.
-You can ask him a question.
-It'll take a while for him
to answer you, or he won't know
how to answer you.
-So Mike can read.
-He can do math.
Is he around grade-level
in those areas, would you say?
No, no. He's below.
He's below.
He's been below his whole life.
Okay. So, Mike, do you think
he has an understanding
of the value of money?
If we asked him
how much a CD costs...
-No, no.
-No, I don't think he'd know.
Would he have an idea
that it's $15, $20 or that...
If you told him $15 or $20,
he'd count it out for you.
No, but he won't know, like,
how much
would that cup of coffee be?
Right. Like, does he know
that a car costs, you know,
tens of thousands of dollars?
-No. No.
You know, especially, like,
if he went to the store
to get money,
he would give somebody,
if it's $5,
Mike will give them $20,
and he'll sit there and wait.
We're teaching him
how to count his money back,
make sure that he gets
the right receipt,
that nobody is taking
advantage of him.
Can he do the math to figure
out if he's got the...
He's been doing
pretty good lately.
He's been trying.
-But he's not there.
You know, and our whole thing
is somebody
taking advantage of him.
That's why we're here.
He's autistic.
-That's what he is.
I'm not ashamed of it.
You know, if he was different,
fine, but he's autistic.
That's what he is,
and then we accept that.
-And that's why we're here.
People always ask us,
"Well, do you think
Special Olympics might..."
Listen. That's what he is.
-I'm proud of who he is.
So, you know, whatever
it is, it doesn't matter.
-Don't cry.
I'm sorry.
-Why do you do this?
-It's just hard.
This is hard, and this is
the hard part, also, but...
That's who he is,
so we're not here
to sugarcoat it or hide it
or hide who he is, so...
He doesn't really go
outside shopping with us
because his tics.
Sorry, sorry.
Can we go to...
-another store?
Do you want to go
to another store to buy...
I don't know
about another store.
If lots of people
stare at him,
that makes him nervous,
and he tics more.
Shut up!
I know he likes
our local Goodwill shop.
The staff know him already.
If he tics, he can hide
between the clothes,
so I guess he feels comfortable
for shopping that store.
So I think about
some reward system.
I got a bloody nose.
No, no. I can't joke around.
I'll get in trouble.
My nose is bleeding.
No, no, no, no.
No. We don't want to do that,
okay? Might get in trouble.
I told him, if he goes to swim
practice on Fridays,
I can bring him to shop
at Goodwill on Sunday morning.
Somehow, this worked.
He was willing to join
the team again.
No, we don't play games
like that.
Good morning.
The first session for warm-up is
right now, B first entry only.
-Where is Robert at?
-Robert is not here.
Rosa, where you at?
Well, if he's not here
in the next 5 minutes,
he's going to be scratched.
If he's not here
in the next 5 minutes,
they're going to scratch him.
But what that means is, he's not
going to be able to race.
As soon as you can
get here, right,
you guys are the first race up.
I don't get it.
You know, we told people
to be here for a reason.
I don't get it.
I don't get it.
I don't get it.
I don't understand.
She said,
"We're on the parkway."
What's that mean?
You had 2 hours to get here.
Then she goes, "I don't
think we'll make it."
You don't think you'll make it,
then you
just messed up the whole team.
I bumped everybody up
just specifically for that race.
Now they can't race in
the summer games in the relay.
We lose two relays.
They're going to
start swimming.
They start on time.
These kids don't get to swim,
I'm not going to be happy.
Please stand to sing
the national anthem.
Nine o'clock. Nine o'clock.
I don't... know.
I don't know.
They're about to scratch him
if he's not here yet.
No, I know. I just...
If they don't show up,
they can't swim
in the summer games either.
There he is. There's Robert.
He's running.
Robert, run.
-Come on! Come on!
-Let's go!
Come on!
-Come on! Come on!
-I'm sorry, Coach.
Let's go. Let's go.
It's not your fault, buddy.
Come on. Go, go!
Make sure they go up there.
So after this one, they go up.
So we're going to line
them up right now.
All right.
First, second, third.
You're bringing it home.
The medley relay.
Swimmers, take your mark.
Come on, Rob!
Come on, Rob.
Go, go, go, go!
Pull, pull, pull!
Come on, Mike. Come on, Mike.
-Let's go! Keep going!
-Soon as Mike touches,
breaststroke, two strokes, two
strokes hard, okay? Get ready.
Get ready. Soon as he touches.
Soon as he touches.
Wait, wait, wait,
wait, wait, wait.
Go! Go, go, go!
Let's go! Go, go, go!
-What are you doing!
-He was doing wrong.
He was supposed to do breast.
He did free.
Let's go! Go, go, go!
Go, Hayden!
Go, Hayden!
Go, Hayden!
Go, Hayden, go!
Go, go, go!
Good job, buddy. Good job.
Go, Robert!
Go, Robert!
Good job!
Go, Robert! Come on!
Finish strong!
Go, go, go, go!
All right.
Here we go, now.
Go, Robert!
Soon as he comes back.
Soon as he comes back.
Go, Robert!
Go, Robert!
Come on. Finish strong!
-Go, Kelvin!
-Come on, Kelvin!
Come on, Kelvin!
Come on! Come on! Come on!
Go, go, go!
Go, Kelvin!
Go, Kel! Go, Kelvin!
Touch the pad. Touch the pad.
Touch the pad! Good job.
Good job!
That's it, baby. That's it.
Give me some love up here.
Give me some love up here.
Ladies and gentlemen,
please direct your attention
to the awards area.
It is my pleasure
to announce the results
of the 4 x 50 Medley Relay.
Winning the participation medal
is the Jersey Hammerheads one.
-I'm sorry.
-Thank you. Thank you.
Ladies and gentleman,
please recognize
these outstanding athletes.
No, no, no, no! They got gold.
They got gold. Who do I talk to?
-The table down there.
-They got gold.
Right now,
that's what they have.
That's what's on the sheet.
Where's the sheet?
The sheet needs
to stay with us.
You need to go down there.
-Let me just see.
-They have the results.
All I have is...
That's what I have.
I don't have the reason.
No. They got gold.
All right, guys. Come on down.
Mike, they gave our kids
a participation medal.
-Our number one team.
There may have been
a disqualification.
-No. They weren't disqualified.
-For what?
-What team?
-No. Hammerheads. No.
I just said that they told me
to come here to talk to them.
It's Jersey Hammerheads,
Whatever event they...
-Who got disqualified?
-I don't know what happened.
Talk to her.
They went to get the medal.
They gave them
a participation medal.
This relay team,
they won first place.
So they told me to come
here to tell them to get...
So there was an issue
with the results?
-So that's all it is.
The time was 2:20.
Nobody beat them.
They won the race.
Right, so...
Can I see the results
from the first half?
Listen up.
-You're event two. Okay.
Don't worry about that.
This is another one.
This is something that
they gave us that was wrong.
That would be
a stroke infraction.
So they started doing freestyle
before they were doing
-They what?
-They started to do freestyle
before they started
to do breaststroke.
-Hayden started to do freestyle?
-Two, twofold. Lane three.
-He's disqualified.
I saw him do it.
Because Hayden started
to do freestyle.
Just keeps getting
better and better.
The relay team
got disqualified.
-Because, Hayden,
you swam freestyle
when you weren't supposed to.
You were supposed to do
whatever your stroke was.
The stroke?
That's why you have to
pay attention, guys.
-Well, it's not my fault.
-No, no, no, no, no.
It's just you have
to pay attention.
So when you go back and swim,
make sure you swim
the proper stroke, okay?
-That's all.
No big deal. No big deal.
-What does this mean?
-That's for participation.
-What is that?
-I know.
For what? What?
Is it third, fourth, or what?
-What does that mean?
That you participated
That's all it is. All right?
All right, guys. Go back.
You got to go back, okay?
do you see yourself different
from other children, from...
-They're different.
Do you see yourself different
from the regular kids in school?
-No, I act different.
-You do act differently?
-How do you act different?
-Just the way I do it.
-The way you talk?
-The way you walk?
How do you see
the other kids different?
-They're not that quiet.
-They're not that quiet?
I see.
Do you know
why you're different?
-No, you don't know?
-I don't feel like it.
-You don't feel like what?
Talking about the school.
You don't want to talk about
why you're different?
But one day,
you want to know the truth,
right, why you're different?
Because I don't want to know.
Robbie, do you know
what autism is?
Do you know why you are
in the Special Olympics?
Everyone in the Special Olympics
are children with disability.
So you're in there because
you have a disability,
and it's called autism.
You have speech delay.
You have trouble speaking
and trouble focusing, right?
-You know?
You know, how sometimes
we have to help you do things?
This is the reason it's going
to be hard finding a job
because there are some kids
that don't have that disability.
They can read a book
and follow the instructions.
With you, we have to teach you
how to do certain things,
and that's why you are all
in the Special Olympics
because there's a lot
of different kids
who have disability.
Are you okay with that?
Yes, I'm fine.
You're fine? Okay.
Every time I tell you something,
it's because I love you,
and it's because
I want the best for you.
-I can handle it.
-You can what?
-Handle it.
-Handle it.
I know. You listen.
-I'm older now.
You are older.
What is it that you can handle?
A lot of things that you
ever told me a lot.
You're doing very well.
You know I love you, right?
I know that.
I will always be here
for you, always.
Everyone get to come.
Your shoulder in.
Come out and stroke.
-Switch. Switch.
-Come out and stroke.
One, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
You show your shoulder.
You show your hips.
Look, guys. We need a meeting.
We need a meeting.
Look, guys.
If you want to get medals,
you have to do what we do,
so you have to follow
what me and Mike does.
So you have to follow
the captain, but we're not boss.
We're teaching you how to be
faster than other kids.
So you want gold medals?
Not bronze.
You want gold?
You have to work hard for this.
Yes, and you got
to learn breath...
What's the silver?
Silver is second place.
Silver is second place,
Matthew. The goal is first.
-You see, Michael...
-What kind of medal is fourth?
-Don't know.
-You see Michael Phelps?
Michael Phelps on the show,
he got 23 gold medals.
So you want to be him?
You have to work harder than us.
Want to be like Michael Phelps,
want to be Ryan Lochte?
Then you work like we do
and listen like we do.
Michael, first swimmer up.
Jump out. Toes on your mark. Go!
Jump out! Go.
Ready? Go!
Jump out. Don't jump down.
Jump out. Toes on your mark. Go!
Aaron, let's go.
Toes on your mark. Go!
Jump out.
Let's go.
Let's go.
Reach and pull.
A little faster. Pick it up.
We've got 3 weeks, 3 weeks
until summer games, okay?
-We got this one.
-I want you to flip!
The summer games
coming up the end of May
is New Jersey Summer Games.
We'll be competing against
every other athlete
in the state of New Jersey.
This is the big finale
for all the athletes
throughout the whole state.
It's not just one county
versus another county.
It's throughout the whole state.
It's going to be
the best of the best.
This is what they've
been working for.
I mean, they're ready.
I'm pushing hard at them,
but they're getting it.
You got to touch
the wall like this.
-Not on top, like this.
-I'm trying!
-Next three swimmers, fast.
Swimmers, take your mark.
Go! Kick off the wall. Kick!
He's doing it wrong,
but he's...
He's trying, though.
-But we'll teach him.
-You guys will teach him.
He's trying.
That's why we keep going to
practice all the time.
It's not... It's not who's
the best in this, right?
-It's who tries and how much
will you have, right?
Yeah. We're teaching him
how to be strong.
That's right.
Will makes what?
That's it.
Let's go. That's it, 10!
Good job. Good job.
Make sure you get the phone
numbers for your friends.
Mama, I know everything. Okay.
What do you mean,
you know everything?
You don't know everything.
Mama, you're driving me crazy
about everything.
What do you mean?
Is that appropriate to say that?
Yes or no?
Mama, I said everything.
You drive me crazy all the time.
Give me a break because I know
you're going to forget.
I am not going to forget.
All right. And then you're
going to take pictures.
Make sure you take a picture
with you and Sarab.
Sarab is going to be there.
I said, "This happens
every day
when I hear some
crazy stuff again from you."
What crazy stuff
am I saying to you?
People, pictures, everything.
Are you annoyed
because you didn't get
to watch the show?
All right. Well, okay.
We'll let it go.
No, I am not. I am not.
I am not annoyed because...
Okay. That's enough.
-Elizabeth is here.
We're getting Mikey dressed.
He's graduating
from high school.
You know, I don't know
what's going to happen to him.
That's a scary thought.
There's no game plan.
There's nothing.
Get closer.
Senior prom!
Go touch him.
Come on, Michael.
-It's okay, Michael.
-Drop your shoulders, bubby.
-Drop your shoulders, sweetie.
-There you go.
-That's it. Relax.
-I talked to other parents,
and they'll
be talking about, "Yeah.
We had this, you know,
the transition meeting,"
and they found these schools,
you know, these private schools
for their kids, and they're in,
and they got the district
to pay for them
and, you know, these schools
are, like, $60,000.
I don't have $60,000, you know,
to put Michael in these,
you know, special schools that
are geared for kids like him.
You know, it's not fair.
I didn't know about it.
The district could have provided
for Michael some type
of education or program.
That will look real cute, okay?
-There we go. Yeah!
-It's called, like,
transitioning school.
They could have paid
for him to go there,
but because it costs money,
everything was hush-hush.
They didn't say anything
to us about it.
All right. Give me a kiss.
See you later.
-Bye, guys!
-Have a good time.
-All right.
If somebody can learn
from my mistakes,
then that's a blessing
because I didn't know.
I didn't know that,
once you accept that diploma,
you're done.
We're so delighted to have
all of you here
as we celebrate the athletes
of Special Olympics
who train and compete year-round
throughout New Jersey.
Over 2,500 of these athletes
will be participating
at these summer games.
To walk into the stadium
and see all these special-needs
kids in there,
to see the families and
the support all these kids have,
it is unreal.
It's all about people
with special-needs kids
going involved with each other.
As the last of our athletes
file into the stadium,
we're reminded of the words
of Winston Churchill:
"You never run away
from anything,
and you never give up."
Mikey! Come here!
Turn it loose now.
I'll see you at the other end.
All right? Go!
Jump out! Jump out, okay?
Come on, now! Come on, now!
-Let's go, big guy!
-Take your mark.
-Go, Mikey!
Go, Mikey!
Go, baby! Turn it loose!
Turn it loose!
Turn it loose!
Turn it loose!
Now go!
Flip and go! Flip and go!
Go, Mikey! Go, Mikey!
Go, Mikey!
Go, Mikey! Go, Mikey!
Turn it loose, baby!
Hey! That was a race!
That was a race!
Good job, baby!
Hey, 29.29!
You broke 30!
What did I tell you?
Give me some love. Good job!
Good job.
Take a picture.
Look at. Look at.
Come on. Smile, Scotty!
Gold medalist Michael McQuay!
Mike was born.
The expectations
I had were very high.
I knew I had something here
if I had a son,
that he was going to be
something special,
and then, when we found out he
was autistic, it just...
It was hard,
but then learning about
his moods and trying to learn,
I think I became
a better teacher
and a better father
by having an autistic son...
I don't get no love?
By spending more time
and being around more,
always wondering and caring
about what he's doing
and how he's performing.
Okay, we got one more,
buddy, one more.
He's funny.
-Kelvin, Kelvin, Kelvin,
come on, buddy!
Just calm down.
Hey, hey, hey.
You're good. You're good.
Come on. Calm down.
Kelvin! Kelvin! Kelvin! Kelvin!
Come on. Come on. Come on.
Come on. Come on.
You're okay. Right here.
You're good. Good. You're good.
-It's not good.
-You are good.
You're ready to go, okay? Ready?
-But it wasn't all right.
-He's spitting on me!
But it's okay now.
-It's not all right.
-We let it go, okay?
-Like, fix the problem.
-We fixed the problem.
We let it go, right?
So let it go.
You fixed the problem means
it's all good.
It's all good.
-After fixed, all good.
-We're all good, okay?
We're all good.
All right. One more, and we're
going to check in, okay?
Hey, what the hell
are you guys doing?
Listen, you got little kids
You got little kids.
You got to calm down, okay?
Something happened last time...
I know, but you got to calm
down just a little bit, okay?
Sometimes we have bad day,
that cannot happen at home.
But you're having
a good day right now.
You're doing really good today.
It's good to have good day.
Sometimes, we have bad day.
Something might happen,
but it can't happen at my house.
If one thing happens,
I might go to jail.
But then so don't let it
happen here, okay?
If jail happens to me,
that's why I never come back
to my real home never again.
We're not going to jail.
No way, right?
-That's not going to happen.
-No, it's not going to happen.
Because we're special
people here.
That's right.
You're right. We're right.
Hey, I'm sorry.
It wasn't my Tourette's.
Something was really
coming out from my lungs.
-Okay. Kelvin?
-Yeah, what's up?
He said take a deep breath.
Count to 10.
He said...
Just going to give it
a count to 10.
Yeah, sometimes that helps.
-And just think.
Sometimes that happens, right?
All right. Let's go, guys!
We got to check in.
Go, go check in, guys.
All right. We got it.
We got it.
We're good. Let's see what
stage are you guys?
-You guys check in?
Kelvin, you might want to
count to 10, take a deep breath.
What are you swimming?
-Very good.
-Right. How many laps?
-Two laps.
Two laps.
What are you swimming?
Two laps.
-What are you swimming?
-Fifty breaststroke, two laps.
-How many laps?
-Guys, this is our last relay.
-Last relay. All right.
Last relay.
You got to do fast as you can.
Yeah, we'll try
as hard as we can!
-Do it fast as you can.
-Last one of the year.
Let's do it.
All right?
Go! Let's go!
Let's go! Let's go!
-Go, Robert!
-Going to turn it loose, right?
-Got you, Coach.
-What's that?
-Got you, Coach.
-You got it?
All right. All right.
I wish I will make your face.
We're going to make
a happy face, right?
-Happy face.
-Make me a happy face.
Hayden, stay in your group.
You're third.
Robert, you're ahead of him.
Get in front of him.
Medley relay, backstrokers,
take your mark.
Get up, get up. Hayden, get up.
Hayden, get up.
I can do it.
I can do it! I can do it!
Go, Robert, go!
Stay in the middle!
Let's go!
Let's go, Robert! Let's go!
All right! Pull! Pull!
Pull, one, two, three,
four, five! Go, go, go!
We got to catch him!
We got to catch him!
We got to catch him now!
All right!
You got this!
You got to go and catch him!
Go! Come on!
Go, Robert!
Go, Rob! Go, Rob! Go, Robbie!
Go, Robbie!
Go, Robert! Pull!
Go, Robbie!
Go, go, go, go, go!
Go, Robert!
What'd you do? What'd you do?
Give me some love.
Give me some love.
Good job. Good job.
-I showed you!
-You showed me!
Go get in your line
over there! Good job!
Go, Robert!
Go, Robert!
Ladies and gentlemen,
I'd like to present
to you gold medalists
the Jersey Hammerheads!
Gold medal is $20.
Silver is $15.
Bronze is $10.
And this is the $5
one I get for that one.
-What you going to buy?
-We don't know.
We'll find out what happens.
We'll find out what happens.
We're pretty happy.
He decided to change his mind
and join the team and compete.
I was just jumping for joy!
Did you just see me?
You didn't see me
because you were swimming.
You were just going so fast.
I need to give you a hug.
I'm so proud of you.
You don't want joke about that.
I might get in trouble.
I'm okay. I'm all right.
I shouldn't play games like
that. I might get in trouble.
Yes, okay.
Your total is $27.23.
You want me to get
for you, Mommy?
-Nothing has prepared me for,
I mean, dealing with Kelvin.
There are several stages,
I guess, mental stages.
The first time we discovered
that his disability
is kind of still asking,
"Why me? Why?"
Okay, but I think
I got over it pretty quick.
I mean, and then the next stage,
"What can we do?"
So we try to do something, and
we're still doing it right now.
What can we do
to get him better,
I mean, better cope with
his disability and better,
I mean, to be
an independent person?
We just have to move forward.
-Bye. Thank you, Mom!
-Bye. You're welcome.
We encourage the world
to view our children as we do:
strong, accomplished individuals
who have the potential
to change the world
one perception at a time.
Look at him signing
autographs over there!
My gosh.
Come on, big guy!
Come on, man! Come on!
Take your mark.
-Go, Michael!
-Go, go!
Go, Michael! Go, Michael!
He was never supposed to talk,
write his name, swim.
Here it is 11 years later,
and look what he's doing!
Go, go, go, go, go!
The whole thing is,
you can't give up on your child.
I mean, it's an old cliche.
Everybody says it,
but I've lived it.
I mean, I live it every day.
I always have visions of him
always staying with me.
But seeing him progress
and doing what he's doing,
now I'm second thinking this.
Second thoughts are like,
"Wait a second!
This kid has a future!"
He did it? He did it!
Gold medal Michael McQuay.
He is going to do
what he wants.
He can do it.
You know, in our house,
we never said "can't," never.
You know, you always
have to at least try.
Unbelievable. Now I can cry.
Now I can cry.
You did great.
All right.
Sit down here
because you're too tall.
I can't reach you anymore.
I like to work with animals
at a zoo
and see if they'll
hire me at a zoo.
I talked to zoo keepers and see
if I could do what they do.
All right, my handsome devil.
You're ready.
Let's go downstairs.
All right.
Go ahead.
It's a lot of paperwork
to get a job, isn't it?
Did you finish
your application?
Yeah. I just finished it.
-May I see that, please?
So what do you know
about the zoo?
What I know about it?
I know...
Well, I've been coming here
ever since I was a little kid,
and, you know, seeing all
the animals are really amazing
and I'm very interested in them.
Do you have a group of animals
in particular
that you're interested in?
Well, I'm interested
in primates.
How did you get
interested in primates?
Well, it's just that primates
are like very
intelligent animals
because they're like us,
like human beings,
and some are related to them.
It's one of those groups
of animals that people
either really love
or really hate.
Well, people do love
primates, of course.
-We're all primates.
The zoo is a 7-day-a-week
Are there any days that
you would be unable to work?
-Can you repeat that again?
-Are there any days
that you would not be able
to work during the summer?
Do you have obligations?
No, I don't have anything
in the summer.
Robert is a captain in just
about every sense
that you would expect.
This year is definitely
the full bloom.
You know, this year,
he's come into a full bloom
as a leader, as a captain.
It's nice.
Hey, my mom's
going to get a picture.
He leads practices.
He encourages
the other swimmers.
He teaches some of
the younger swimmers.
He gives the team pep talks.
Here we've got a captain
who does what the rest
of the people
should aspire to do.
The first swimmer I'm going
to recognize is Robert Justino.
Robert is receiving
the coach's award.
It's one of the highest awards
that we have.
Robert Justino, to me,
is a real success story.
He has the story
of overcoming adversity
and doing really
what other people thought
that he couldn't do,
including on this team.
He's made such a huge impact
on this team.
You guys look to him
as a captain,
so this is for Robert Justino.
-Smile, Robert.
-Give me a hug.
I took, like, three.
All right.
There you go.
All right, guys. Come on.
I'm impressed.
I enjoy swimming, and it's
always fun to watch people
who can excel
in the things that they do.
Two bites. Come on. Two bites.
Come on. Come on, girl.
In terms of what we are
looking for here at the zoo,
we need somebody
who could do the zoo job,
and he was hired
for that purpose.
We thought that
he would be a good fit.
He's got a passion,
but he's got a calm demeanor.
That's what you want working
with not only the animals
but also with the people
that come here.
This is somebody
who loves animals
but also somebody who really
cared about what they were doing
and I thought
would do a good job.
This one right here is Gizmo.
That one over there with
the shorter ears is Ducky.
The black one right here
is a male. His name is Diablo.
That one right over
there is Loch Ness.
The floppy-ear one is Kirra.
White one is Lizzy.
No, no, not up there,
not up there.
There you go.
Yeah, don't feed them on that.
All right?
They know just down.
Down here.
They're fighting!
They're fighting!
I think "Swim Team,"
in a very general sense,
is about coping with challenge,
and trying to be positive
and not giving up
in the face of adversity.
I have a child with autism.
But whether I had
a child with autism or not,
I would feel compelled
to make this film.
Coach Mike and Maria were just
so inspiring to me as parents.
And Coach Mike
says at the beginning,
he was told that his child
would never talk
and that his child
would never be self-sufficient.
And parents
of children with autism
are often told
terrible, negative
pronouncements like that.
And it's so... it's so hard
to be positive
and encouraging as a parent
when "experts" are telling you
that your child
won't amount to anything.
And I just thought
it was so important,
what they were doing.
When everyone was saying "no,"
these people were saying "yes."
And I could tell
that saying "yes"
had an impact
on their family already
just by seeing
how well Mikey swam
that first day
that I met them at the YMCA.
I knew that there was some power
in saying "yes."
And I was inspired personally
and professionally.
And I knew that
if they could inspire me,
that their story
could inspire other people.
And I just... I knew I had to
help them share their story.