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Having Fun Playing Sports in a New Way

by Sarah Humphreys & Brennan Maupin

Students are sitting on the floor for sit volleyball, the ball is flying over the net and one student reaches out to hit it back over.

I recognize that I have been gifted with certain talents in life; however, sports have never been among my strong suits. I arrived Wednesday afternoon at Godwin Hall in hopes that I could support the Adapted Sports Showcase from the sidelines. I soon found out that this was not going to happen. We were all herded together quickly and purposefully, so that the timid people like me could not back out! We broke up into teams. From Floor Volleyball to Beep Baseball to Paddle Hockey, there were so many exciting activities at the showcase that I simply cannot give each of them their due here, but let me touch on some of my personal favorites.   "[There] were so many exciting activities at the showcase that I simply cannot give each of them their due here..."

I do not know if you have ever seen Wheelchair Basketball played on TV or the internet, but those guys really get into the game!  At first it was a little intimidating to join real players on the court. We were lucky enough to have the Charlottesville Cardinals team with us to show us the ropes. I found myself pushing the chair about four times as much as any of the team members to get equally as far. Okay, that’s an understatement, it was more like 8 times as much, but still, everyone was so friendly and encouraging that even a timid person like me was able to enjoy it tremendously.

6 students playing sled hockey try to hit the foam ball with their paddles as they scoot around the floor on small dollies.

Another highlight of the showcase came from the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. They were awesome enough to come out and show us their skills at the sport of Goalball, it was originally developed for veterans of World War II. The game has two goals, one on each side of the court. The objective of each team is to roll the ball into the others’ goal, while protecting their own. The sport is designed for the blind so a unique system of verbal and tactile communications is used. It is hard to explain the intensity and coordination involved in the sport, but what a spectacle it was. I encourage anyone who reads this to look up a clip online; it was unlike anything I have ever seen before in my life.

I found this event powerful in knowing that for athletes with disabilities, there are still plenty of opportunities to play the games that they know and love.

Several students from the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind demonstrate how to play Goalball.



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