Tagged with: athletes awareness disabilities disability health life sport wheelchair
In my 20 plus years of wheelchair sport, the most enjoyable experiences have been traveling to various countries to compete against other countries. Over my various travels I have had to honor of competing against some of the most competitive athletes I n the world. But I also have met some of the friendliest people. Many of which I still keep in touch with today. I am not sure which is my favorite country, but what I enjoyed the most while overseas was knowing that I might not have spoken the same language or had similar faiths, but we certainly had one thing in common was the love of sport.
For me, the sport of choice has always been wheelchair rugby. I was introduced in 1995, after playing wheelchair basketball for several years. When I first introduced I knew right away that this was the sport for me. It was very much about physical contact, hitting, speed and more hitting. As my skills became honed I was introduced to my first international experience.
In 1998, I went to Christchurch, New Zealand, it was there that we competed in a tournament and won. What was even more important were the friendships that I made. People always talk about wanting to get away, I went far away. Yet, a day does not go by that I do not think about this moment and this beginning.
The beginning for me has led to a long career in wheelchair sports. It has led to travel to many places. Yet, what has always been the most important aspect of travel is competing. Knowing that my travels have been for the purpose of sport competition, yet it has been more than that. It has been a way to unite common goals and countries. It has been a way to help people become better in health, self-esteem, and life.
Recently, I and 7 other athletes have been asked to go to Russia to showcase wheelchair rugby as a way to facilitate people to people connections and to promote inclusion and tolerance through sport. As much as I look forward to going to a country that I’ve never been before, I will really enjoy meeting new people. Traveling to other countries to showcase sport is something that has already begun with sport of Goalball. I am just thankful to have this same opportunity.
As our world continues to grow and struggle I am thankful that we can continue to spread the joys of competitive sport to other countries. It is through this love of sport that we are truly a united world. Sport is the most important instrument for peace. Whenever this instrument is shared and developed in any state and continent we are then growing as a world. Where every in the world this growth is happening it is then that this location is my favorite country.