Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer


From Down Here

Thoughts on Disability

More Moxie

This week will be a special re-post of something I wrote in January of 2013 about my dear friend, Diana Lane. A post called “Moxie Personified” …

amy & diana




And you guys think I’m gutsy. Meet Diana Lain. More positive, more adventurous, more disabled than me. And more full of life than most anyone I know, able-bodied or otherwise.

It’s not often I meet someone with this much gumption. She’s game for anything and loves speed. Some of you may recognize her from other adaptive sport photos. She waterskis, body surfs and plays power soccer (driving the ball into the goal with a power wheelchair.) Not to mention, occasionally joins in on bowling and billiards nights. All this is made more remarkable because she doesn’t have much use of her limbs.

Diana was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992 and has lived with friend, caregiver and trusty sidekick, Kathy Bailey, for close to 10 years (read the recent article that appeared in The Florida Times-Union.) I don’t remember actually meeting them. It seems, instead, they’ve always been there, giving me countless rides in their wheelchair van since my own disability, and becoming my good friends along the way.

So, I didn’t hesitate when they invited me to check out Little Talbot Island on New Year’s Day. The park has plenty of boardwalks, bike trails and accessible restrooms, so it didn’t feel I was living too close to the edge. I forgot who my companions were.

Our first escapade came when Diana spotted a seagull with a broken wing in a parking lot. I think I have a bleeding heart when it comes to creatures of nature. Next to Diana, I’m the hunter poised to take out Bambi’s mom. Continue reading “More Moxie”

Yogi in the Mirror

y1I’ve been getting into something lately. I should say back into something, because certain things never really leave you. It’s yoga. I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with it for decades, but when I first became disabled it took a definite backseat position in my life. After all, many of the poses were simply not an option for me anymore.

Enter Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program once again.yogacl4 In this class of non-ambulatory participants, led by instructor Anna Dennis, we get out of our wheelchairs and onto big, thick mats. Volunteers assist us in moving into poses that stretch our tightened limbs. For many of us, it’s the only time of day we’ll leave the cramped confines of our chairs and assume any other position.ycl5 Shortened hamstrings and hip flexors are lengthened, spines are twisted, rib cages and hearts opened. It’s downright delicious. I’ve written about the Brooks programs before and told you about some new sport I’ve tried (like rock climbing!), but this is different. This is less a “what the hell, I’ll try it” kind of thing and more like coming home.

I think I discovered yoga back in college, at the gym, before even step aerobics was popular. Back then, I liked how pretty the poses looked in the mirror and was encouraged to learn I was naturally flexible. It’s fun to find something you’re good at when you’re not even trying. Yoga’s not supposed to be competitive, but others were impressed. It fed my ego. I went on to become a certified yoga teacher in 2001 and toyed with the idea of instructing others — until I remembered during my first teaching experience that I hate being in front of a class. I was so nervous, both before and during the class, that I could barely remember my sequence of poses, let alone correct anyone on how they were being done. I was in high school all over again with an overdue presentation. I left shaking, and aside from subbing a few classes, that, as they say, was that. I went back to being a student and saving for the latest cute yoga outfit.

Then in 2006, I had the brain hemorrhage. Luckily, my time as a yogi and a massage therapist had impressed upon me the importance of keeping limber and the dangers of prolonged sitting. As soon as I was strong enough to get in and out of the wheelchair, I took to the floor to see what I could still do, what was left of my practice.

Yoga then, was something to be done in the privacy of my own home where I was free to be not so pretty about it. These weren’t perfectly balanced trees or eagles that looked good in the mirror, this was sliding out of my wheelchair like so much dirty laundry to land in an ungraceful heap on the floor.

Yoga on the malecon!
Yoga on the malecon!

Over the years, I’ve kept at it — even trying some standing postures in the pool where it’s okay to fall. And passions have a way of bubbling up. I even found yoga during my month in Mexico, just blocks from where I was staying.

Now that I’m back to enjoying yoga in a group setting, I dare say I might have an advantage over some able-bodied yogis. I think real yoga is about the breath. About learning to look inward and settle your gaze there. My hemorrhage took my ego further out of the equation for me. It cured me of any desire to look in the mirror and compare myself and my abilities to those of the rest of my classmates. I turn inward more easily. My breath is different now. The inhales no longer match the exhales, but there is a deeper sense of gratitude for having the breath at all. And a greater compassion for and sense of oneness with my fellow yogis. And isn’t that what yoga is all about?yogacl2

It’s Personal

1219140414QA03ssIt’s easier to get political, to take action, when something hits close to home. And this time, it’s personal. Dial-A-Ride, a non-profit organization and, more importantly, my Friday morning ride to the grocery store, will close shop this coming week without further funding.

Sure, I can take JTA’s transportation service for the disabled, Connexion. I depend on them a lot. They drive all over Jacksonville, whereas Dial-A-Ride only services the beach communities of Atlantic, Neptune, and Jacksonville Beach. But, let me tell you how this works. Say, for a ride up the street to Publix. There’s no running in to check out a carton of milk in the express lane. No see ya in a half-hour. No way. It’s an all day event. A major affair. With lots and lots of waiting.

JTA schedules their time in half-hour windows. And there’s a minimum duration I have to be at any location before they’ll come back to get me. So, imagine they show up for me at 11:00 a.m. I could be cruising down the aisles by 11:05, but my pick-up time won’t be until 12:30 to 1:00 at the earliest and they’re often late. That’s two, two plus hours of my life I won’t get back. I’ve learned to take a book. And not buy ice cream.

Then, assuming they show up at all, the driver, usually someone I’ve never met because their turn over is sky high, is not allowed to help me with any bags. I’m only allowed to board with what I, a disabled person, can carry by myself. The Publix employees have learned to stack all my canvas bags on top of one another, looping them over the headrest of my power chair. I look like a homeless version of the crazy cat lady, carrying all my belongings at once, cat litter and toilet paper stacked on my lap.

Things could certainly be worse, though. I heard one horror story of a woman waiting on a ride with all of her bags at her feet. The JTA driver, who had just turned into the parking lot, took one look at her, shook his head in admonishment, and drove off. Just left her standing there. I should add that a store employee was waiting with her to load the groceries. Maybe the driver was anticipating having to help her on the other end, but something tells me she had that worked out, too. Not that he even stopped the vehicle to find out.

Contrast all of this to riding Dial-A-Ride. The soon-to-be-unemployed Josh picks me up at 11:00. (I’m fairly certain he’s the only driver.) There’s no 11:00 to 11:30 about it, so I don’t have to wait outside for half an hour. Then, he comes back for me at our agreed on time, depending on whether it’s a light or heavy shopping day. And he helps me with my bags, to the door, whatever’s needed. I’m usually unpacking groceries by 12:15 instead of inhaling parking lot fumes and watching bag boys.

But this good option of mine is soon to be a thing of the past. Founded in 1975 by the Beaches Council on Aging as a way for seniors and disabled citizens to access transportation to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and other necessary errands, Dial-A-Ride requires at least $4,000 a month to operate. I knew Dial-A-Ride ran on donations (including mine — the suggested fare is $5 round trip,) but I was surprised to read in Thursday’s issue of The Beaches Leader just how much fundraising goes on year round. Pancake breakfasts, ring toss rallies and theater events are all in the works. It reminds me of that bumper sticker that dreams of the day schools will have all the funding they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. Why are things like art education and social services for the elderly and disabled the first things to go?

But I know I can’t just mouth off about a problem without offering a solution. And for now it seems fundraising is all we have. Being in a wheelchair, people are always asking me how they can help. This is how you can help. This directly affects me, not to mention other disabled and senior members of the beach communities. If Dial-A-Ride gets the money they need, I may avoid spending next Friday afternoon sitting in the Publix parking lot. Waiting. And Josh will have a job. I realize none of you know Josh, but still. He’s a nice guy.

Donations can be sent to Dial-A-Ride, 281 18th Ave South, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250. Volunteers and grant writers are also needed. Contact 904-246-1477 to help.



Good Vibrations

bethanyhamiltonLast weekend my friend Michele and I attended the Brooks Celebrate Independence Day. This annual event, hosted by Brooks Rehabilitation and free to the public, honors the spirit and accomplishments of people with disabilities. There are booths set up by different vendors and resource groups, informational and educational exhibitions, and a nationally renowned keynote speaker.

bh2I’ve attended in the past, but this year I admit to being particularly star-struck. The speaker was Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack in 2003 and recovered determined to return to competitive surfing. Her 2004 book, Soul Surfer, was made into a movie of the same name that played at the event. See local news coverage here.

Listening to her speak, one thing stood out. Her personality was downright effervescent. I remember thinking she must be the bubbliest, friendliest person on the planet. She appeared to be speaking from the heart, with no notes or preconceived plan. It was obvious she possessed the main ingredient necessary for dealing with any challenge, from catastrophic illness or injury to major life changes such as death or divorce — attitude.

Bethany Hamilton takes questions with her husband,
Bethany Hamilton takes questions with her husband, Adam Dirks.

I know it’s a little cliche’, but what’s that saying? Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it? It’s so true. We all have a friend that when asked how they are, the answer is inevitably ‘terrible.’ A Chicken Little for who the sky is eternally falling. An Eeyore-type person, all ‘woe is me.’ Don’t be that person. (I love Dr. Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” in which he explains the world is made up of Tiggers and Eeyores.) I think I’m a Tigger. Bethany Hamilton is                                                               definitely a Tigger.

banInterestingly, when asked who inspires her (since she has inspired millions) she answered Nick Vujicic, the motivational speaker born without arms or legs. For those of you who have never seen the link on my website click here. You’ll never say ‘woe is me’ again.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. Full of the kind of reminders we all need to hear every once in awhile. To be grateful for what you have. To dream big. And to never give up. So start cultivating that positive attitude now. You never know what’s beyond the horizon. And should, as I hope, your life be nothing but sunshine, at least you’ll be more fun to be around. You might even feel like bouncing.tigger


I've fallen and I can't get up!
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

My handicap has aged me before my time. Cell phones, for example, have created a whole new problem for me. I suppose the fact that I have one at all makes me somewhat young. The fact that it comes with the five star alert system and free medication reminder does not.

The problem began when my old flip top died. Apparently, technology has advanced light years in the last 18 months. When did cell phones become so complicated? Me, at the phone store: No, I don’t care about apps. No, I don’t want to be able do four things at once. No, I don’t need to get on Facebook when I’m out. (I can’t see the screen well enough to know whose calling let alone post cute pictures.) I just want to make calls! And text. I can text. But the old school way – scrolling through the alphabet, hitting the same key multiple times. I don’t want a full-size keyboard with keys the size of bread crumbs.

And smart phones with touch screens are out of the question. I can’t make that smooth little swiping motion. For a while, I thought the voice recognition feature would be cool. Then I realized, with my voice the phone doesn’t even seem to recognize I’m speaking English.

I finally succumbed. I am now the not-so-proud owner of The Jitterbug. The phone for old people. I use the term “old people” with absolutely no qualms, because I’ve discovered that regardless of your age, “old” is always at least 10 years older than you. (And when I say you, I mean anyone reading this.) The possible exception to that may be my 95-year-old grandmother, who might finally acquiesce to being old, but who could probably run circles around half of you. (Well, maybe not run, but she could definitely trike circles around you — she puts in two miles a day on her tricycle.) Besides, while not as respectful as writing “older people,” using the term “old people” is just funnier.

So, I bought the phone for old people. And, in doing so, became the youngest person in the world ever to own one. It’s not the “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up” system, but it’s close. I actually have to push 5 and then the * key for assistance, but the idea is the same. You’ve seen the ads. Help for your mom. Or your dad. Or handicapped friend. You could hear the surprise in the operator’s voice every time I called to ask about speed dial (non-existent) or getting a picture onto my computer. (I still haven’t figured that out. The Jitterbug doesn’t appear equipped to handle such techy tasks.) But the loud and slow-speaking person on the other end was happy to try to add a pill reminder or nurse practioner call to my service. They’ll even have someone call in every day just to check on me! My luck, I’d miss the call while fumbling the phone and they’d call out the SWAT team.

I need The Jitterbug for it’s large, easy to read font and big buttons. What I don’t need are simple memory match games or a customer service number that always rings straight to a live person. Sometimes I just want to get down to business, not chit-chat about the weather down here in Florida like I’m just a stone’s throw from the nursing home. But, I haven’t found a happy medium. I’m too disabled for a smart phone and too with it for The Jitterbug. So, next time you’re cursing some automated system and praying to speak to a live person, just think of me being condescended to by a 20-year-old or being asked how many times I get up at night to go to the bathroom so they can assess my fall risk. One day, they’ll come out with a phone for middle-aged people called The Grasshopper, but until then, be careful what you wish for.

Coming Around

sochiI believe that eventually the world gets it right. Just think, there was a time, not too long ago, when women weren’t allowed to vote and the color of your skin dictated which water fountain you had to drink from or where you were allowed to sit. Our children may find that hard to believe. But I believe in another 50 years or so, our children’s children will find it hard to believe that gay people didn’t always have equal rights or that there were actually public places a disabled person couldn’t get to. It takes what it takes (usually a lot struggle), but the world eventually comes around.

Yes I know, I’m getting a little political, but I am, after all, my mother’s daughter. It hit me while watching a rerun of Will and Grace. That show was groundbreaking at the time. Now it seems old hat, the way Modern Family will seem in the future. And something else groundbreaking is happening. NBC is televising the Paralympic Games for the first time in history.

During the London Paralympic Games, I was petitioning to have NBC televise them. Now, I’m asking you to watch them this week. I’ve found them on NBCSN (which is channel 24 if you have Comcast.) It’s not exactly prime time viewing with Bob Costas, but it’s a start. And as the president of the International Paralympic Society said during the opening ceremony which illustrated the theme ‘Breaking Down Barriers’, “I call upon all those who experience these Games to have barrier-free minds.”

Original Post: Changing Times

“Look up at the stars, not down at your feet. Be curious.” ~Stephen Hawking

If you’re like me, your favorite part of the Olympics is the human interest stories. Someone who seems destined for greatness, loses and then, struggling against all odds, fights their way back to the top again. If you are moved and inspired by these stories, then you’re going to love the Paralympics. Every single athlete is a human interest piece. Everyone’s got a story to tell.

In case you don’t catch it (and why would you? It’s not televised in the U.S.,) you can watch the Games online. I’ve been watching Paralympic Sport TV. The only problem with this is that I remain hunched over my computer instead of in the comfort of my own living room. If you, too, would rather be watching it on the big screen instead of a small one, my little petition is still struggling out there in cyberspace, so sign it!

The Paralympic Games, which started August 29th and continue until September 9th, started with an opening ceremony extravaganza, held in front of a record audience of 62,000. It began with inspiring words from Professor Stephen Hawking and featured deaf and disabled performances.

This was a homecoming of sorts for the Paralympics because, although the first official Paralympic Games was held in Rome in 1960, the idea was founded in Stoke, just north of London in 1948. Sir Ludwig Guttman began the revolutionary practice of using sports in the rehabilitation of spinal cord injury patients with just 16 athletes on a small piece of land between the back of a hospital and a railway embankment. It has grown steadily to 2012, with over 4200 athletes competing from over 160 countries. Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, thanked Sir Ludwig Guttman for “generating the first sparks that became the Paralympic spirit.”

As I scanned the U.S. athletes for sight of my friend Jerry, a Paralympian I met back when we both tried wheelchair tennis (he found his sport in archery – see the previous links,) I found it impossible to keep a dry eye watching the athletes take part in the night of their lives. The Paralympic athletes are a celebration of the human spirit, a testament to the amazing things a body, particularly a disabled body, can do. Isn’t that what we love about sports? And the growing Paralympic movement, with more people watching than ever before, is a sign that we are one step closer to an inclusive society. These are, indeed, changing times.

Out in the World

dreamstimecomp_2439573Last week I returned to the Land of the Living. I think I’m a month behind everyone else on New Year’s resolutions, but better late than never. The cold I had really took its own sweet time and I couldn’t find the energy for much of anything. But just in time for February, I’ve officially headed back to the gym.

And it’s good for me. Well, of course it’s good for everyone, but it’s particularly good for me, being in a wheelchair. I keep hearing that prescription drug commercial in my head. You know the one, “a body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion …” For Restasis, or Cialis, or some such -is. Wait. Not Cialsis. I know that one. It’s the one like Viagra with the inexplicable ad. In it a man and woman sit in separate bathtubs in the middle of a wheat field. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps they find wheat arousing or the walls of their house blew away.

Anyway, believe the adage, “use it or lose it.” I know it to be true. I feel like a big, stiff bear waking up from a long winter’s nap. And the few things I used to do with ease (and believe me, there were only a few) are now difficult again.  Like, I used to be able to touch my toes while down on a big floor mat. Either my arms have shrunk or my legs have gotten longer, because now I’m a good foot away. More likely, my once flexible muscles have hardened up as fast as day old bread. So, I’m back to square one.

It’s good for other people, too – my being out and about. Not all of you, of course, because my readers are very socially aware, but it’s good to remind the general public that disabled people are out there. If you’re like most people, you just don’t think about people being different or having different needs, unless you know or see someone like me. After you’ve seen me in my power chair at the strip mall, you’re less likely to park in front of a curb cut — my only way down from or onto a curb.

Plus, my being out may inspire someone in ways I will never know. This is one of the perks of being disabled. I can help someone without ever lifting a finger. Imagine the person down in the dumps, who sees me smiling, just going about my business, and stops and thinks, “Wow, look at that happy girl in the wheelchair. What have I got to be grumpy about?”

And speaking of being grumpy, my mom and I are both guilty of it as of late. We’ve been bickering — another thing that prompted my return to a fitness regime. I know how exercise improves your mood and outlook. And I think this is true for all relationships — it’s good to do your own thing once in a while. Allow yourself to miss each other a little bit.

So be aware, I’m back out in the world. I’ll be the smiling girl in the wheelchair. Just like the picture. Minus the green hair, of course.

The Choice

indexSomething’s been bothering me ever since I heard about it. The story about the Indiana man, Tim Bowers, who fell 16 feet from a tree during a hunting accident and was paralyzed from the shoulders down. His family asked that he be taken out of sedation long enough to decide for himself whether he wanted to live or die. He wanted to die. Doctors removed his breathing tube and five hours later, he was gone. He left behind a wife and unborn child. And I can’t stop thinking about it. Or feeling sad.

My heart goes out to his family and I can’t imagine the gut wrenching emotions they must have gone and are still going through. I don’t pretend to have all the answers here. Not by a long shot. But I’m troubled by this. For many reasons.

It was reported that the family had an idea what Bowers would want because he’d previously talked with his wife about not wanting to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. I wish it had read that they had an idea he wouldn’t want to spend his life on a ventilator. Or live all his days in a hospital. Because for all my love of life, even I can agree — that’s no way to live. I might have done the same. But to report that the family knew he didn’t want to live his life in a wheelchair? You guys know there’s a difference here, right? Because statements like this, as if they are one and the same, just perpetuate the myth that becoming disabled means life is over.

I’m reminded of a Push Girls episode in which the mother of one of the girls admits to having wished the girl had just died because she didn’t think she’d have much of a life in a wheelchair. I hope your mouth has hit the floor over this as much as mine did. It seems ludicrous. To me and probably everyone who knows me or anybody in a wheelchair. But this perception is out there, people!

So I’m going to stress it again to all of you able-bodied people out there. In the sad event that tragedy strikes you or someone you love. LIFE IS NOT OVER. Yes, it’s the end of the world as you knew it. But it’s not the end of the world.

But back to Tim Bowers. I’ve read that his family had a small window of opportunity in which to let him make his own decision. If he’d decided at some later point that he didn’t want to live, then it would be called murder.

This is why I support an individual’s right to die. I think Jack Kevorkian had it right. If someone like Bowers decides two years down the road (when he might actually be better equipped to make such a call) that he doesn’t want to go on, that his quality of life doesn’t warrant sticking around, then I believe he should have the right to call it quits. But to decide that in an instant? The day after a tragic accident?

And I realize this may come as a shock — but doctors don’t always get it right. The day after an accident? Who knows how the prognosis would have changed over time and with therapy and technological advancements?

I’ve met all kinds of people that thought they didn’t want to go on. But they have gone on. Gone on to fulfilling and productive lives that they are thankful to be living. The paraplegic who taught the rock climbing clinic I took wrote in his book that at first he wanted to die. He wanted to hurl himself out of the hospital window. The only thing that stopped him was the fact that he physically couldn’t get out of bed, let alone get to the window. He wanted to die. And yet he went on to become the first paraplegic to climb El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. And inspire thousands like him along the way.

I have a friend who can only move her head (and one hand on a good day). And I’m betting she wouldn’t trade getting to see her granddaughter’s face light up or watching her take her first steps. It’s different. I know it’s different. My friend can live at home and get around out in the world. I don’t know what it’s like to face a future as bleak as Bowers’. Everyone must decide for themselves what in life, if anything, is worth living for.

I guess I’m saying I wish he could have had more time. Slept on it a night or two. Of course he immediately wanted to die. It’s just a shame we couldn’t have asked him later.

Tough Stuff

I recently attended another Southern Slam Quad Rugby Tournament.  The difference this year was that our Brooks team was split up — all the teams were made up of various other teams. I have a hard enough time following the action as it is. I missed the color-coordinated uniforms clearly identifying who to root for, but I hear it’s more fun for the athletes — meeting and playing with different people from all over. If you’ve never checked out the sport – you don’t know what you’re missing. Take a look at my post from last year, complete with photos and video. I’ve also changed the title from Tough Guys to Tough Stuff in honor of the couple ponytails I saw in there swinging.

Original Post:

One quadriplegic furiously chases down another as the two men move from their locked positions. Their wheelchairs race and then WHACK!  The clang of metal on metal rings out and one wheelchair crashes on its side, its occupant suspended helplessly. In any other setting, this would bring people running to assist, but here, a referee casually walks over and picks up the ball before someone rights the dangling player.

This is Quad Rugby, a.k.a. Murderball, and it’s all just part of the action. And having been to several games, I can tell you — there’s plenty of action. The rules are pretty simple. Each team tries to get the ball through the goal on their respective side of the court. The offense passes or carries the ball, while the defensive team blocks. There are fouls, rebounds and a lot of back and forth. It’s kind of like basketball, but without the hoops or dribbling. And, in my opinion, it’s more exciting. But don’t take my word for it. Check out this video of the Brooks Bandits (Brooks Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program) playing in the recent 5th Annual Southern Slam Quad Rugby Tournament.

It’s disconcerting at first, watching people in wheelchairs slam into each other. But then you realize, these guys are defying stereotypes and redefining what it means to be handicapped. While a friend and I watched an away game in Atlanta at one of the premier rehab hospitals in the country, a woman next to us had just met the parents of a 16 year-old who’d been severely injured in an accident. “Bring him down here,” she told them in the elevator that led from patient rooms to the indoor arena. “He needs to see what’s possible.”

I read a memoir by disabled cartoonist John Callahan in which he says he never forgot his first sight of wheelchair basketball players darting around and popping wheelies in the halls of his hospital. It gave him hope through the dark days to come. And the message? Life goes on. Goes on well. In fact, in the disabled world, inviting the Quad Rugby guys to your party is like inviting the football players back in high school. They’re the cool kids on the disabled schoolyard.

For those of you not in the know, quadriplegia means without good use of any of the four limbs (not to be confused with paraplegia, the loss of use of two limbs, usually by spinal cord injury.) Quadriplegics come in all shapes and sizes with greatly differing injuries and abilities. For example, I’m a quadriplegic. And I couldn’t catch or throw a ball if my life depended on it. Unless it was a beach ball. And even that’s questionable. Plus, I’m sure my double vision would get in the way if anyone was foolish enough to let me out on a court. There are quads who can walk (usually brain injured,) but many have suffered a spinal cord injury where the break was high enough to affect hand motor function or grip strength. I’ve seen double amputees playing Quad Rugby and one gentleman in Atlanta, wheeling his chair with a duct-taped elbow, making the former massage therapist in me cringe at the repetitive motion injury he was undoubtedly causing. Then I remembered — he has bigger problems to worry about.

Regardless of the difference in our abilities, we’re all disabled. We want, like anyone else, to belong somewhere, be part of something. These guys like being physical again and playing as part of a team. I enjoy the individual sports, like horseback riding or swimming, but with the camaraderie of a group of people to who, in many ways, I can relate. Everyone wants to look in the mirror of society and see themselves reflected there. And what you get from these games, or any adaptive sport, either as a participant or a spectator, is the sense that life is not over. Not by a long shot.

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