For the first time in a few semesters I’d actually seen the light of an early Sunday morning, as I prepared myself for a fun day of disability sports. With all the publicity around campus, I knew that Disability Sports Awareness Day would not fail to please with activities such as ‘power football’, wheelchair basketball and blind football all on the day’s agenda.
The day kicked off with ‘power football’, a game played in electric wheelchairs as the players use a giant football to score on a basketball court-sized pitch. The sensation of driving the power wheelchair was similar to driving a dodgem, with the added problem of trying to control, pass and shoot a ball at the same time.
Wheelchair basketball promised to be much more my kind of disability sport, as I believed I had an advantage as a seasoned basketball player. Oh how I was wrong. It proved very difficult to score a basket when you’re sat just two feet above the court, unless you’re packing some mean muscles in your arms, for which I am sadly not. However this did not take away the enjoyment of trying to remember that for every two pushes of the wheels, the ball must be bounced if it’s in your possession, and trying not to crash into each other! My team, the Greens, were overall winners but whether that was because of skill or fluke is undecided!
Blind football wasn’t as difficult or as scary as I had initially thought. Under supervision of the national team coach, we separated into pairs to practise running, passing and kicking blindfolded, and using the regulation size football that makes a noise similar to a rattle when moved. After playing a game, I can honestly say we were still absolute novices, emphasising the professionalism and skill the real players actually have.
So after a 7-hour taster of disability sports, what did I learn? That there are so many opportunities out there in disability sports for people to become professional players and actually take part in the sport they love. Seeing disabled kids take part in the day was great to watch and opened my eyes to the unrestricted possibilities for anyone, in any shape or form, to follow their dreams.