Sep 16, 2013
Tagged with: 1,2,3..Power!

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

– John Wooden

When I was asked to be a guest blogger for NCHPAD, I was excited. I worked on my high school newspaper and I always knew that some day I wanted to start writing again.  However when I went to start my first entry my brain went blank.  Not a single word or idea came to mind.  So I went back to the standby I used in high school when I had writer’s block.  I looked up words of inspiration from people I admire. When I stumbled upon this quote from John Wooden it fit perfectly and everything came together.

In November it will be three years since the first time I walked through the doors at The Lakeshore Foundation.  I came to volunteer with the youth program FRESH (Fitness, Recreation, Exercise, Sports, Health) for a class I was taking.  I loved it. Over the next seven months I volunteered with as many programs as I could.  I left for the summer to complete an internship in Nashville and when I returned I was looking for more ways to be involved. I met with Peggy Turner and was telling her about my experiences.  Somehow it came up that I played soccer. Peggy asked if I was interested in coaching a sport called Power Soccer. I had seen the sport played once, but all I heard was soccer and I was sold.  I thought, “I have been coaching soccer since I was 16, how hard could this be?”  Turns out I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

NikadaI remember my first day of practice. I was so intimidated. Up until then I had only coached youth athletes; never adults, and certainly never adults playing adaptive sports.  So at 21 years old, all five feet of me walked onto the court to begin, hands down, the most difficult but most rewarding experience I will ever have as a coach.

Power Soccer is a form of soccer played in power chairs. Each chair is equipped with a metal guard that is used to dribble, pass, and shoot the same way a player would do with their feet.  The game is 4 vs. 4 for two 20 minute halves.  There are similarities between Power Soccer and what I knew from playing stand-up soccer, but I had so much to learn.  The strategy is not what I knew, plus this game is dependent on the equipment, which was foreign to me.  Those first few weeks I felt like I was looking at the Mt. Everest of coaching.powerposter

As I begin my third season with the team, I look back at the last two years with pride. There were tears and triumphs, good days and really bad days, but I think that’s true of coaching any team.  I also think back to the quote I started with.  For forty minutes we forget the word “disability,” we only focus on what we can do – what we can do with our chairs, what we can do mentally, what we can do as a team to succeed.  There are still areas we need to improve upon, but as a coach I am ready for that challenge and I know my athletes are too. So over the next couple of months, I plan to keep you all posted on what we’re up to, culminating with our Lakeshore League Day, November 23-24, 2013.  Hope you all will be able to join us.

For more information on Power Soccer you can check out www.powersoccerusa.org/ or contact me at meganm@lakeshore.org.

Author: Megan Mindel

  • Fan in Woodstock

    Loved reading this post. Thanks Megan, for sharing what this amazing team does and what they have meant in your life. You too are an inspiration!

  • Megan

    Thank you for reading! They really are a great group and I am lucky to be able to work with them!

  • Gman

    I’m in awe of what you do. Keep pressing with your dream. You are positively affecting the lives of many, and making a difference. I look forward to following you. Tom