The Keshequa Central School was privy to a unique showing of the short film “Why Me!” on Friday, June 8th. The film is a biographical sketch which shows how Keshequa Central School graduate Tomas E. Moran managed to overcome his cerebral palsy and to accomplish so much.
Graduating in 1999 from the high school, Moran went on to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education at SUNY Cortland. He was told by the administration that he would not be able to get a degree in physical education, and he defied all of their warnings to do so. He then moved ot the University of Virginia where he earned his doctorate in kinesiology.
Tom is now an assistance professor of kinesiology at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In his position, he promotes the inclusion of children in sports who are considered too handicapped to play, and he started a soccer camp called “Just for Kicks” with the same philosophy.
A colleague of Tom’s proposed the idea of the documentary after seeing the work that Tom was doing with disabled children and after hearing about Tom’s own struggles. As Tom explained, “I agreed to do it on the premise that the film highlight not only my life, but the programs we’ve been able to run.”
He continued, “My experience growing up was that I was never allowed to play sports. I was not able to play baseball and soccer, yet that was what all my friends were doing. I was in a segregated physical education class. I had to find a way to get involved.”
Tom has big hopes for the film. He hopes that it will empower children to get into the game and help families to see how their disabled children can work around the barriers that are so often put up. Plans are in the works at the moment to distribute the film to PBS stations and perhaps to ESPN.
As Tom explained in his own inspiring words, “In many ways I have been able to be a ground breaker. My methods aim at overcoming barriers and empowering people. That’s what I hope this film will do. Regardless of your ability or disability we all face challenges in life. You can see them as hurdles or barriers. Barriers are designed to hold people back. Hurdles are made to jump over. The choice is yours.”