Re: The Ferrero Fantasy Thread
A lifetime of tennis addiction had culminated for Spanish born Eva Catalano in this moment of a lifetime. The 45-year old Spanish/Catalan woman was back in her country of birth watching the 2009 Davis Cup semifinal between Spain and Israel. Rafael Nadal had been unable to participate due to injury, but another one of her favorite players, Juan Carlos Ferrero Donat, was about to play. Eva knew everything about "Juanqui," as he was called. The name was a consolidation of his first two names, given to him by his mother, Rosario, in honor of King Juan Carlos I. He was also called "The Mosquito," a name Juanqui himself didn't particularly like. The name was given to him because of his speed and quickness. Eva preferred to think of him as a cat-quick, graceful, slender and beautiful.
Eva had collected a large body of knowledge on "Juanqui" who, as stated, was named for his nation's monarch by his mother in hopes that her son would one day aspire to greatness. He indeed went on to excel in many fields: former world number one tennis player; Davis Cup hero for Spain in 2000; hotel and tournament owner and loving son and brother. He was also, like Eva, a pet owner. Eva had a cat and Juanqui had dogs. She knew Juan Carlos was born in Onteniente/Onteniyent on February 12, 1980. His parents were Eduardo Ferrero and Rosario Donat de Ferrero. His sisters, both older, were Ana and Laura. Little "Juanqui" first picked up a tennis racquet when he was very small. By age nine, he became a strong player. He was very shy at first, but quickly turned into a good player and a very competitive young man, always striving to be the best.
This shyness was something Eva knew well, for she, like Juanqui, was shy. She was diagnosed at age two in Spain with autism. Doctors said she was smart, but lacked social skills. She was called "high functioning," but doctors still wanted her put away. She overcame most of her difficulties by age four, moved to the United States, and began school as a so-called "normal" and very intelligent girl. She grew up to become a teacher of autistic children, both in the United States and for one year in Barcelona, Spain, at the same school she attended as a young girl. Today, one couldn't guess anything was different about Eva, as she went on to attend medical school and is now, as Eva Catalano, helping autistic children in a medical capacity. Her husband, Jordi Catalano, is also a recovered autistic young person and attended the Casals' School (not the famous tennis academy) with Eva in Barcelona when they were children. One thing Eva felt she didn't possess was tennis talent. She claimed she would hit herself on the head with the racquet! Actually, she did take lessons and played quite well, but not on the level of a Rafael Nadal or a Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Eva had read a great deal about famous people who supposedly shared her diagnosis, later revised as Asperger Syndrome (AS). She thought the descriptions of famous individuals being on the spectrum was nonsense, for the most part. She noticed that no athletes were part of that list, because, the experts said, "Asperger's is incompatible with athletic ability." However, she could think of a couple of possibilities: Roger Bannister, the British miler and physician, Paavo Nurmi, the reclusive Finnish long distance runner and-maybe, just maybe...
No! She didn't want to entertain the possibility: JUANQUI? The "experts" analyzing Juanqui might notice his shyness, discomfort during interviews, sensitivity to loud noises (the Hormiguero seemed to make Juan Carlos quite uncomfortable) and, occasionally, that faraway look in his eyes. He was also a bit awkward while dancing, although very graceful on the tennis court. Did the child who was "Juanqui" feel out of place growing up? What frightened him? Did he have any unusual interests? Did he make friends easily?
"Stop!" Eva told herself. There's not a thing in this world wrong with Juan Carlos! He's everything the "experts" in the field of autism believed he couldn't possibly be. He's a professional tennis player and owns a hotel and a tennis tournament. He drives fast cars. He has friends and is a loving son and brother. "Experts" evaluating Juanqui would say he shouldn't be able to do any of these things.
Was Juanqui ever diagnosed with anything in Spain? Doubtful. Most likely, he grew up thinking he was "different," all the while, moving toward an extraordinary path in life to become a champion tennis player. Juan Carlos was perfect, seeming to have almost anything. The only frustration in his life seemed to be in romantic relationships, in finding a nice woman to marry and share his life forever. Eva hoped that one day this would happen for Juan Carlos, that he would find a woman who loved him for the sweet and special man he was.