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.”
There were three of us in this race. The other two were men. One of them was using a racing chair, which has another wheel out in front of the chair. The race was 100 meters, the gun fired and we were off. I crossed the finish line – FIRST.
This is a difficult endeavor for someone in a wheelchair and I deserve extra points well, I had to ask for help on this one. And I found it is possible. I had known about this event for some time, as I get emails all the time for adaptive sporting events. And my first time in a kayak, not tipping over once, but I did sunburn my feet – the only place I didn’t think to put sunscreen. I am very light-skinned and burn easy, and because of the MS, I’m not even supposed to be out in the sun, especially when the thermometer goes over the 80-degree mark (which it actually seems to do for the entire summer).
Bowling is a sport I’ve enjoyed for some time. But as things usually do, life gets busy and some things fall to the wayside, as in my case.
I started bowling once a year – from a wheelchair, and that is a challenge. You don’t get as much power behind the ball when you’re sitting still. But I took this on again, and I went bowling at an alley called Fat Cat.
My total score was 191 for three games – total. Oh, that and some very sore muscles in my shoulder and back. You can see me in motion here: