Baseball was so much more than a game for Reid Davenport when he was growing up.  It was about belonging and being a teammate, despite having cerebral palsy.  In this intimately personal film, Reid explores the parallel between his adolescent loneliness and his ultimate rejection of the game he loved. 

"'A Cerebral Game' is a real and powerful look at how inclusion morphs from childhood through adulthood for individuals with disabilities. I use this video in a section of a course (Developmental Disabilities Studies) to specifically approach the issue of transition from childhood, to adulthood, and then beyond.  It enables entry-level physical therapy and occupational therapy students to see how a child with cerebral palsy participates in a loved activity....and how as the child gets older, that same beloved activity becomes the source of sadness."

Dr. Lorraine Sylvester, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Synopsis: 

Baseball was so much more than a game for Reid Davenport when he was growing up.  It was about belonging and being a teammate, despite having cerebral palsy.  While Reid didn’t play, he relished talking about his beloved New York Yankees with his teammates, eating sunflower seeds and yelling advice to players.  This was the closest Reid would ever come to playing the game he loved. 

However, as Reid entered his teenage years, he started to feel increasingly like an outcast.  In this intimately personal film, Reid explores the parallel between his adolescent loneliness and his ultimate rejection of the game he loved.  Reid narrates his own story and uses his shaky movements to mirror both the physical and emotional experience of going through adolescence with a disability. 

Reviews

"'A Cerebral Game' helped us introduce our occupational therapy students to discussions regarding the interests and needs of young people with disabilities as they transition from school to opportunities for living and working in the community.  The DVD and Reid's gracious Skype presence initiated students' thoughtful reflections on the social model of disability and concepts of self determination theory."

Dr. Anita Niehues and Professor Alison George, San Jose State University

"I struggled with group activities as a disabled child and this film is honest about the struggle and joy of having fun. A great film for young people who are finding their way and figuring out what participation means to them."

Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, Appointee under President Obama

“The filmmaker narrates his own story while creating a visual landscape that is at once disorienting and nostalgic - and the result is so raw and compelling it's impossible to turn away.”  

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

After Reid's appearance on Newshour, anchor Judy Woodruff concluded, "Reid Davenport, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude and I hope everyone watching this segment will share it."

Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour
Director's Commentary: 

This wasn’t my first personal film, but it was by far the most intimate. It was the first time I used the literal physicality of disability – my hands – as a motif. I also believe that my adolescence is an example of how disability provides a very specific insight into humanity because it exaggerates certain elements of the human experience. Maybe most teenagers don’t feel the same degree of isolation or rejection as I did, but they nonetheless had the same feelings and can recognize them in the film.