Wouldn’t it be fun to throw the first pitch at a baseball game? How about throwing a great first pitch at Game 4 of the 2011 NLDS between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers? A teenager named Max Ashton did just that. A huge baseball fan, Max threw the ball sixty feet right over the plate: a strike! The “catcher,” defense infielder Lyle Overbay, autographed the ball which was then fully authenticated.
Max has some great bragging rights!
But wait; there’s more. Max is blind. Yep, that’s right. He was representing the Foundation for Blind Children and was asked to throw that ceremonial first pitch only two days prior to the game.
Now, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that Max could throw a great pitch. I don’t have any preconceived notions of what someone can and can’t do; the proof is in the doing. But from the comments to the video (located at: Max Ashton: Perfect Pitch), so many people are truly surprised. And some wonder how a blind person could be interested in baseball or appreciate an autographed ball. The same people probably wouldn’t know there are blind lawyers, photographers, teachers, programmers, website experts, authors; the list goes on and on. Barriers be damned!
I submit to you that the greatest barriers Max and his colleagues have to overcome are sighted people’s preconceived notions of what they can and cannot do. The assumption that someone who is blind really can’t do anything is false. It’s an old belief whose time has come to be dispelled. One of the best places to help dispel this notion is in media.
It’s happening however, at an excruciatingly slow rate. For instance, there aren’t many shows that have blind characters. Even advertisements tend to ignore the fact that some people access media differently than the majority of people do. Hmmm.
Question: If people set their preconceived notions aside and allow their companies to open up their media, this could increase their exposure by 10%-20%. Would their sales increase?
Answer: That’s exactly what we’re finding.
Congratulations on a great throw, Max! And congratulations on opening people’s minds to the possibilities!