I Played Wheelchair Pickleball

Let’s go play Pickleball!

While at the Valor Games Midwest, in Chicago, I saw pickleball played for the first time, at Soldier Field.  I did not know that we were being taped while we played, and did some drills.  I did not know I was in this video, but stumbled across it when looking up wheelchair pickleball.

I am the Caucasian woman with dark and grey hair, in a blue shirt.  It shows me doing drills, and actually on the court, playing.

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you I had a wonderful week of competition with other disabled veterans, in San Antonio, TX.  I’d also tell you the driver of the express coach to O’Hare, loaded me aboard the bus, then waved me off when I started to ask how much for the fare.  I’d tell you I made it to the airport in plenty of time, and breezed through security, without the usual hassle that I’ve experienced in the past, as a wheelchair user.  I would also tell you, that while waiting at the gate, the airline lady came over to me, and told me that a gentleman in first class was offering me his seat, if I would like it.  Well . . . yeah!  They were giving me drinks throughout the entire flight, as well as a choice of meals to choose from.  I had a delicious Asian Salad.  I would tell you about my experience, once I reached San Antonio.  I made it from the gate to the shuttle buses if a good amount of time, since I had packed light, with only one carry-on bag, my laptop, and my CPAP machine.  After waiting a considerable length of time, a shuttle with a wheelchair lift finally arrived, but they weren’t going to take me and had to go in and check that out.  He finally decided he could take me.  He opened the back door and let the lift down to the pavement.  I rolled on and he pushed the button.  The front end of the lift started to rise, but the back stubbornly remained on the ground, and the front would go sliding back to the ground.  I got off, he tried the lift again, and it still wouldn’t go up – without me even being on it.  I was afraid I had broken as my humongous large chair probably weighs close to 400 pounds, and that’s without me in it.  He finally got me aboard and we were off.

 Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did my best throughout the three events I took part in, one each day of competition.  I played table tennis first, and I did well in the first round, but not as well as during warm-up.  I would tell you that I got pounded to the pavement floor by a competitor, who it turns out just happens to belong to a national table tennis team.  He must practice for hours on end each day.  I didn’t think that was a fair go-around, but I gracefully rolled away, and joined my friends on the sidelines, one of whom had my phone, and took some very good pictures.  I would tell you that my second event was bocce ball.  I made it through the first two rounds, and then lost to the person I had played against, two years earlier, at an exhibition event for bocce ball.  I believe I lost to him then, as well.  Also, I don’t remember seeing any other women playing, but I could be mistaken.  The air rifle event, was really rough on me, physically.  The MS has progressed (probably why they call it “progressive”) and I couldn’t hold the rifle still enough to even see the entire target, much less those tiny little dots I was to aim for.  They got a stand for the air rifle, and one of the volunteers helped to adjust the sight, so that I could actually see the individual dots I was to aim for.  Another volunteer was helping, by putting each pellet in the rifle, and telling me which dot I was to be aiming at for my next shot, and telling me how far off I was with each shot.  I did a poor job hitting those targets, and didn’t even stick around to see what my final score was.  I would also tell you that the trip home wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the first flight.  We took off late, arrived late, and I waited about an hour for them to bring my chair to me.  I missed my shuttle bus and was screaming scrambling through O’Hare, trying to find the shuttle bus, and when I took the elevator to garage level – twice.  When I finally got to the ticket counter, the fare was $27, and I had $25 on me.  I ended up giving her the $25 in cash, and putting the remaining $2 on my debit card, as I wasn’t too sure about how much was left in my checking account.  The lift on the next bus was broken.

Image result for CoffeeIf were having coffee, I would tell you that the beginning of October is kind of bittersweet.  My mother passed away, four years ago, on the 1st of October.  I would also tell you that the end of the month not only brings Halloween, but a Halloween birthday as well.  When I was in elementary school, she would bake her famous ‘chocolate drop cookies’ and bring them to my school, so I could share them with my class.  All my teachers wanted the recipe of those cookies.  I  like birthdays, except these last few years, my age is starting to seem surreal, uncertain at times, and higher than it was a year ago.  I would tell you how, throughout the years when I was a kid, my mother would throw a ‘surprise’ birthday party, then we would all pile into the car to go Trick-or-Treating, after it got dark!  Imagine that.  We had to use a car, because we lived way out in the country in upstate New York, and the nearest neighbors were up to several miles away.  I would tell you that I always enjoyed those birthdays, and somewhere deep inside, that child who had wonderful birthdays and Christmas’s, is still buried deep within me, and that part of me, I might never let go of.  I would also tell you to have a great week.

Worse Service Ever

I got up this morning a lot earlier than normal.  I had meds, feed the cat, and packed up the CPAP and laptop.  I then had my usual breakfast, minus the coffee.  I spied the clock and I had 15 minutes left until the van arrived.  I was out in the kitchen, shot and the rest of my meds, were still there, waiting for me.  I was already behind, before I even got started.

The van was waiting for me, and we arrived at the Petro Mart a half-hour early.  I then thought of my 32 oz water bottle, still sitting on the counter, filled and ready.  I bought a cup and two bottles of water.  I didn’t realize they were 20 oz bottles. 

At the airport, I realized I was carrying a full bottle of water while in line for security.  I couldn’t take it.  I had a fellow passenger toss it for me.  While waiting for our flight, a man, very generously, offered me his First Class seat.  It was seat 1A.  They plied me with drinks (no alcohol) and I got a meal as well.  I chose the Asian Salad.  It was very good.

At San Antonio, the plane seemed like it was descend super fast, and bang, we landed.  I was the last person off the plane, as usual.  They had me sit on that tiny, metal, aisle chair until my chair finally showed up, minus part of the cup holder.  I knew I should have taken that off.

After reporting the breakage, I was sent outside and waited for the shuttle.  Super Shuttle.  I saw three without wheelchair lifts.  When I finally spotted one, it went right by me.  It was after 5:00 when one arrived.  They lowered the lift, I got on, and then the lift wouldn’t lift!  It wasn’t me either.

The boss arrived, and with his help, they man-handled me and the lift up and I rolled in.  I checked in for the Valor Games, and then the hotel.  Room 108.  No waiting for the one and only elevator for this wing.  I will be hitting the pool tomorrow evening, if it’s still warm enough outside.  It wasn’t barely 80 degrees when I landed.

Let the Games begin!  I am playing Table Tennis tomorrow, Boccia Ball Wednesday, and shooting an Air Rifle Thursday.  Friday, I head back for the airport.  It will be over and done with before I even know it.

This post was written without today’s taboo word.

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 taboo

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge 

Weekend Coffee Share

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I would tell you how my therapy visit was somewhat unsettling.  What am I saying here?  She made me angry.  She made me feel as though I were under attack.  She stressed for about ten minutes, how she spent more time with me than with any other client that she saw.  Was that a complaint?  Does that mean I’m a problem?  Should I be seeing her less often than twice a month?  I should hope not.  She has been my lifeline to my sanity for the past year and a half or more.  I was nearly devastated when she changed my appointments from once a week to twice a month.  And now I have to show up with a notebook, prepared with exactly what I should be talking about that day.  If she hadn’t done so much to bring me so far . . . 

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this weekend has been one filled with anxiety, last-minute trips to the dollar store for mini versions of toiletries, so that I can travel this week, with only one carry-on bag, my laptop (no matter how hard I try, the decision to leave it at home never lasts) and my CPAP machine.  I don’t want to be tired all day long, because I had a poor nights sleep due to sleep apnea.  I’m trying to avoid 1) Trying to push around my big suitcase, while toting a carry-on, laptop and CPAP machine,  2) Having to wait in baggage claim until my bag finally appears and possibly missing my bus home from the airport on the return trip, and 3) Loading up with all this extra stuff I can do without.  All of this from a wheelchair.  True, it is a power chair, but that in itself is trouble as it causes me to be the last one off the plane, then often having to wait for my chair to appear, which could be a bit of a lengthy time coming home, at O’Hare.  And there is always the risk of damage to my chair, as it is a 400 pound power chair and the baggage handlers in Chicago just never seem to get it right, even though I’ve traveled to and from there for a few years.  I could not possibly tote around all that baggage while trying to push myself around in a manual wheelchair.

Image result for CoffeeIf we were having coffeeI’d tell you about all the exciting things I’ll be doing this week (not including the airports).  I will be checking into the hotel in the evening, and then checking in for the Valor Games Southwest, in San Antonio, TX.  I’d tell you how the elevator has a glass wall which looks out on the inner square garden.  There is also a hot tub, which I cannot go into due to heat sensitivity from MS, and a wonderful pool, lit up at night from under the water.  It is such a wonderful feeling to immerse myself into that cool water, after a hot day waiting to get on and off buses, which are transporting us back and forth from the game venues and the hotel.  I believe my first event will be with the air rifle.  I have rifled through my closets, looking for the eye patch needed to cover my dominant eye, so I am not struggling to keep my non-dominant eye open while aiming at a target which is 10 miles meters away.  And I also have to be wearing my glasses to do this.  I would tell you that another event I’ll be taking part in, is table tennis, a sport which I have played just about every year for the past 8 years.  My last event is Boccia Ball, which I first tried in San Antonio, on my first trip there two years ago.  It has since become an event in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.  The Valor Games do not require that you be in a wheelchair, but just that you have a VA-certified qualifying disability.  I guess mine qualifies, as this is the third year I’ve been accepted to these games.  I’d tell you that just last month I competed in the Valor Games Midwest, in Chicago, where I earned a gold medal in the discus, and a silver medal in hand-cycling.  This is a sport that I’m looking into pursuing on a full-time basis.  And I’d tell you I’ll spend every evening (if I have any energy left) in the pool, and then trying to find a couple of people to drag me out of the pool, as I can’t get myself out with my legs.  I would tell you that I’ll be getting little sleep for the next 5 days, and that’s okay.  I’ll fill you all in with my results, next weekend.

I Am A Veteran

I am a veteran.  I am a female veteran.  I am a disabled veteran.  

Every summer I look forward to the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.  This year was my 9th year of competition, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.  I participate in events ranging from 9-ball to softball to track and field.  

This is a video from the games (as they are known among all of us competitors) for 2016.  It is the 36th year for the NVWG.  I plan to continue to go to these games for as long as I am able.

Also during the summer, I compete in the Valor Games, which are for disabled veterans and active duty personnel.  I have competed in field, hand cycling, and this year started learning to play Pickleball.  It would take me a long time to explain what that is so here is a link for further information about this fun game.

What is Pickleball?