SHANE VICTORINO scored this big goal in the Hawaii Cup soccer tournament when he was 14. Yo, every goal is a big goal in soccer, but this was against a team from the mainland and Shane celebrated by sprinting to the opposing sideline, flipping the bird to the startled parents and coaches gathered there.
The grumble of anger was closely followed by the wail of police sirens. It took a while for the pushing and shoving and threats of retaliation to simmer down.
"I look back at it," Victorino says now, "and it wasn't funny, but I can laugh at it. I just never looked at the consequences. As a kid, you just kind of react, you don't think. I'm not gonna blame it on the ADD."
The ADD? Attention deficit disorder. Victorino had it then; he has it now. Medication doesn't cure it, it just muffles the symptoms. Stop taking the medication and - pow - the symptoms return.
It's all there, in a revealing new book by Alan Maimon called "Shane Victorino: The Flyin' Hawaiian." The behavior problems in the classroom, the bickering with coaches, the transfer to a different school, the diagnosis and treatment.
"If he was going to write a book about my life," Victorino said the other day, "I wanted it all in there, what happened to me as a kid. The message is that parents shouldn't be ashamed, shouldn't be afraid, if their kid has this disorder.
"There were countless phone calls from the school, things I did in the classroom, things I did in practice. My parents were very supportive. My mom, she really struggled with it, studied it, got me the help I needed."
Kids with ADD often seem distracted, disorganized, forgetful. They may have trouble focusing on schoolwork in general, but point them to a hobby or a sport they enjoy and their focus becomes razor sharp.
"My parents encouraged me to play sports," Victorino recalled. "They wanted me to put my energy into sports."
Baseball was the most challenging, with all the standing around. Three minutes of action crammed into 3 hours, one cynic once described it. The boredom is one challenge, the frustration of failing seven times out of 10 as a hitter is another.
"For me," Victorino countered, "baseball is the best. Sure, you can go 0-for-4 and strike out twice. But the next day you can go 4-for-4 and drive in the winning run and be a hero. Throw an interception in football and you fret for a whole week, waiting for the chance to redeem yourself."
The Energizer Bunny image, the guy who dashed around with the shaving-cream pies, the occasional zone-out blunder on the basepaths, people have long suspected that Victorino had ADD. Now it's out there.
"My family, my friends, the people near and dear to me," Victorino said, "they knew who I am, what I was dealing with. It wasn't that I was ashamed to talk about it."
He was far from alone. At last count, there were 108 major league players with medical exemptions for ADD, which allow them to take Ritalin or Adderall. That's one out of every seven big-league ballplayers. Surely some of them have conspired with friendly physicians, so that they can use the Ritalin as a stimulant during the dog days of August.
Victorino won't touch that issue with a 34-inch Louisville slugger.
"Anybody ever connected with baseball," he said, "knows that there was a time when 'greenies' were there, in the clubhouse. But baseball has a drug policy now, and it's a good one, and it's working."
Was there any hesitation about sharing the ADD details with the author? Any fear of how opposing players might react, how hostile fans might treat him?
"It is what it is," Victorino said. "I have a constant challenge to be a better player, a better person. I'm a high-energy guy, I like to have fun. That shows in the way I play. If there's a reaction, so be it."
It helps that he had the backing of his wife.
"I'm always encouraging Shane to talk about ADD openly," Melissa said, taking time out from a hectic moving day. "I don't think ADD is something that needs to be hidden or a secret."
Their courtship began with a kick in the teeth.
"I was training in kickboxing at the time," she explained. "I thought I was tough. I had a few pairs of boxing gloves lying around and I was talking smack. We put the gloves on and did some light shadowboxing and light kicking.
"And then he kicked toward my face. I think he expected me to duck, but I didn't. No one got hurt and I learned about his fierce competitiveness really fast. We laughed about it for a long time and still find it funny to this day."
It's not all laughter and sunshine, living with someone with ADD.
"It can make things complicated when Shane isn't taking his medication," Melissa said. "We are still learning every day and continuously dealing with different new challenges."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was not concerned about any backlash to Victorino's revelations. Nor was he surprised.
"Anyone who spent 25 minutes talking to Shane had to know it," Amaro said.
Does Amaro have any doubts about the 108 players diagnosed with ADD?
"No," he said, swiftly. "It's being studied more, diagnosed sooner. Players are people, too."
It is a hectic week for the Victorino family, that emotional 14-inning game with the Mets on Sunday, the visit yesterday to see the ongoing renovations to the Nicetown Boys and Girls Club that the Shane Victorino Foundation funded with a $900,000 donation, a book-signing at the Majestic Clubhouse store at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and oh yeah, moving into a new home.
Maimon, who did a thorough job of finding and talking to Victorino's coaches and teachers, his minor league teammates, key people along the rocky path to the major leagues, did not have to do any arm-twisting to persuade Shane to talk about ADD.
"It pretty much defined his childhood, in the classroom, in sports," Maimon said. "He wanted it to be part of the book. There are millions of kids diagnosed with ADD and he wanted to help people understand the condition.
"He signed a waiver allowing me to talk to Dr. Alfred Arensdorf, who worked with him on behavior modification."
That section of the book will grab much of the attention, but it wasn't the motivation for Maimon to choose to write about Victorino.
"This is the golden age of baseball in Philadelphia," said Maimon, who grew up nearby. "Any of the players would have made for an interesting book. Add Shane's backstory, his size, his background. Here's a guy thousands of miles from Philadelphia and yet, he is the most Philadelphian of all of them.
"The way he plays the game, he has to be the most blue-collar guy out there."
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