Wednesday, March 10, 2010
What Do You Do If You Are An Athlete Without Legs?
Why you play Sitting Volleyball, of course.
Sitting Volleyball was first played in the Netherlands in 1956. It is now played in more than 60 countries. By eliminating jumping and putting all players on an even playing field Club Sitting Volleyball can be played by anyone, both disabled and able-bodied. It was demonstrated during the 1976 Paralympic Games in Canada, was included in competition at the 1980 Paralympic Games in the Netherlands, and has been in every Paralympic Games since. The USA entered its first team in the Games in 1984. In 2004 the USA Men's team finished 6th and the Women's Team finished 3rd.
To be a member of the USA National Sitting Volleyball Team or to qualify for the Paralympics athletes must have a physical disability. This includes athletes who have major muscle loss, knee tears, knee or hip replacements, polio, or loss of an arm or leg.
I was at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver this past week at the Colorado Crossroads Volleyball Tournament where I had the pleasure to watch the Men's USA Sitting Volleyball Team play against Canada and Brazil. It was quite exciting to watch these skilled athletes play. Even the warm ups were incredible to watch. Pushing with their arms, rolling all over the court to reach the balls, stretching higher than some people can jump, these men are an inspiration. Never give up on your dreams, just make them happen.
The USA and Brazil team before the final game.
Stretching, warm ups, and signing autographs.
The USA Men's Team came in second in this tournament, losing to Brazil. I was so impressed with the way the team played the game and the crowd. Talking to the spectators, signing autographs, having their pictures taken, the whole team showed their spirit and pride in their accomplishments. They don't let a little thing like losing an arm or a leg stop them from reaching their goals. I want to be just like them.