Go Play – Obstacle Course – On Wheels!

Being a wheelchair user can have its ups and downs.  One of the ups is playing games in a wheelchair.  For some events (like last weeks Pickleball) I can use either my power wheelchair or my power.  There is an event called the Slolam, and basically it’s an obstacle course, both for  manual chairs and power chairs.

My first Slalom was done in a hospital-issue wheelchair.  I had to open, go through, and close doors, without knocking any little plastic pylons, and the course is done following a path from one obstacle to the next.  It took me more than 10 minutes to get through that challenge.  The second, and last time through a manual course, I was using a sports chair that was designed to fit me.  I got through the course in just over 3 minutes.

I  have done a lot of sports in a wheelchair but this one is the most challenging, I think.  I have played slow-pitch softball,  9-ball (billiards with only balls 1-9, shooting at the  balls in order), shot an air gun at targets, archery, bowling, track & field, and other things which I can’t think of now.

This autumn, I decided I would do the power course, laid out for differently, according to the athlete’s ability.  There are three quad courses, and I’ve done several of them.  This year, I was reclassified, and thus compete with people in a class that’s more competitive than the one that I did before.

The time was finally right, I put on my helmet (required), and I went through that course.  It may be a little different from the obstacle course most people think of when they hear, “obstacle course.”

Wheelchairs And Sports

This YouTube video is of the 36th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, in Salt Lake City, in which I took part.  I thought I would share it so you all can see a bit of the types of events I, as well as all the friends I have made over the last 9 years, take part in the course of a week.  Enjoy!

Share Your World #31

What is your favorite part of the town/city you live in.  And what Country do you live in?
I live in a mid-sized city, which is a change from ‘Hicksville, upstate NY’, where I grew up.  From the first city on to the present, I have always liked the bustle of being in the middle of a city.  But I would have to say that my favorite part is where the city lies along the coast of Lake Michigan, especially when there is no one nearby.

I live in the United States.

Would you rather wear clown shoes every day or a clown wig every day?
I would have to say the shoes. I always kick them off as soon as possible anyway.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?
Over. If it’s under, I never seem to be able to find the end of the roll.

What do you do to make a living or during the day?  If you are retired what mostly occupies your day? Or if you are a student what are you studying?
I do not work due to disability, yet I do have a set schedule, for most days. The alarm goes off. The cat gets up, I get up. I take my first round of meds and feed the cat. An hour later, the second alarm goes off, and I take the rest of my morning meds, make the coffee and have breakfast. Then I move from my power chair to my recliner, after I’ve gotten dressed, turn on the computer, and spend most all day and evening, first going through all the email, reading my batch of blogs that I follow, and then I turn to my favorite Sudoku website, and that’s pretty much all I do for the rest of the day and the evening. Though lately, I’ve become inspired to get out of the recliner and go to the gym, and try to strengthen my upper body, so that I can take part in some adaptive sports for wheelchair users, which would be more of a challenge (Haven’t made it to the gym yet, and I got back from a week of games in Salt Lake City a month ago today.) My next round of events is in three weeks, in Chicago, and I need to build up my strength and endurance for the coming events there. Then my life goes back to recliner mode until near the end of September, when I go to San Antonio, TX for three days of events there, but nothing strenuous due to the heat and humidity there.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I think this may sound a little strange, but I’m grateful for Mother Nature last week, when she put on some mighty fine fireworks (thunder and lightning), which I love dearly, as long as it’s not one of those where the wind is bending the trees over, and the rain is moving sideways rather than  down. Those are a little scary. But I’m grateful to be here, able to watch, and listen and listen to a heavy downpour of water.

In the week coming up, I’m looking forward to an entire week with absolutely, not one single appointment for the entire week. When this happens, I can vegetate relax in the shade, without any pressures to go somewhere except for the grocery store.

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Cee’s Share Your World is a weekly feature and all are welcome to play along.

What’s going on in your world?

Pain And Determination

I have been here in Salt Lake City, Utah, since Sunday afternoon.  When you are in the sun during the day, it is like sitting in an oven (not that I’ve ever actually sat in an oven).  But yesterday morning was cloudy, and there was a little breeze.  I wasn’t doing anything until 1pm, so I went sight-seeing (and looking for a drug store).  It was really nice and I took a lot of pictures.  You can check some of them out on my Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/vanbenschotenk.  Here is a good sample of what I’ve seen and done since Monday morning.


During the past four days, I have pushed myself to compete in four events during the National Veterans Wheelchair Games here.  I have bowled Silver medal), ran the motorized slalom (an obstacle course for power chairs – gold medal), played 9-ball with two other women, both of whom I already knew (bronze medal), and played Boccia Ball (no medals, just had fun… I was winning until the last round, when my opponent pulled ahead with a final score of 4-3).

But it’s not about those medals!  It’s about grit and determination, friends and fun, and great competition.  Having MS, I suffer from fatigue most of the time and it’s with a lot of effort that I go out and compete like this.  And I don’t only do it here.  I also take part in the Valor Games (for veterans with all disabilities), in Chicago and San Antonio, where I push myself a lot more to succeed.

Now I am looking at participating in new events through other types of games all over the country.  I also have set a goal to go back to the gym on a regular basis, participate in adaptive sporting clinics, and get myself out of that recliner, where I normally spend most of my time.

I want to get stronger, and more active, pushing through the pain and fatigue and succeeding in doing the most I can do and not give in to this disease (MS).

That will take pushing myself to do more, all that I can do, with determination and grit.  I will not give up!

Vets Adapt To Their Differences

I am a Navy veteran, disabled due to MS, and I’m trying to raise the money needed, for a wheelchair van, and hand cycle, to get me out of the recliner and into action. The exercise is good for me not only physically, but mentally as well.  I started playing wheelchair sports in the summer of 2008, and have every year since, adding two new events in 2015.  I want to be independent, and to push myself further than I think I can go.  In order to become independent, I need a van that is equipped with a ramp or lift.  For now, I can still use my right leg for driving, and don’t need hand controls.  But the day will come when I will.

I am attempting to raise enough money, to get what I need to become more independent, and more active.  Right now, I am a recliner jockey, with my head in my laptop from morning to night.  If you would like to help with the fundraising, you can click on the line below and it will take you to the fundraising website.  Thank you for all your support.




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I Have Different Abilities

I have a different way of doing things than a lot of people.  Some people who are in wheelchairs.  Many people give up, lose hope, sit around and do nothing.  I’m here to say that I am not disabled, I am just differently-abled.  I just spent a week in Dallas, suffering from heat that was in the 90’s every day.  I have MS, which makes me heat intolerant, yet I did not give up on anything.  I tried to do the best I could in the five events I took part in, during the 35th National Veterans Wheelchair Games.  The MS put me in a chair, but not on the sidelines.  19095473331_81dc77fb39_zI took part in bowling, table tennis, 9-ball, 100-meter track and Boccia Ball.  I came home with four gold medals and one silver medal (Boccia Ball), which I had never played before.  19121436842_11e0e3590d_z (1)But I did all I could, and even pushed myself further.  I am proud to say that I am not disabled, just differently-abled.

A Week of Competition

The trip that took me far away,
On a warm and sunny day,
Was for a week of wheelchair games,
With others who helped to serve and save.

Racing chairs with those minus limbs,
Only caused me to look within,
One who never could behave,
Wounded as I was,

Went to serve and save,
But is anything just?
My mind messed up so long ago,
With no place to turn or go,

Poured myself into a bottle,
All I wanted was to throttle.
The one who caused my inner pain,
But I was taken far away,

So I could serve my country,
But took that bottle along with me.
Sad to say, my service cut short,
Because of feelings I couldn’t abort.

The bottle turned me into someone,
I never wanted to be,
When I left them, my job undone,
Yet I still could not see,

What really caused the pain in me.
It happened oh, so long ago,
I couldn’t run away,
From something I could not let go,

He gave to me to stay.
Feelings of blame and shame,
For I was the one who didn’t say,
Stop, for he’s to blame.

A future planned when I was young,
All the things I could have done,
Was all just washed far away,
Drink after drink, day after day.

I served with those who deserve the honor,
To be called disabled vets,
Yet I still feel still so minor,
Not ready to really compete, quite yet,

But still go through the motions,
Winning game by game,
Competing with those who in some way paid,
These games were meant to bring new life,

For those who were wounded,
And no longer wanted to try,
All our dreams have been drained dry,
Wounded without,

Wounded within,
Yet we all get together and try,
To feel alive again.
The games I won,

But life I lost,
Due to the one,
I hate the most.

– van –