|Athletes sit in a sled balancing on two blades.|
Last Saturday, we saw the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team practice at a nearby ice rink. Afterward, we ate dinner with them and were able to ask questions about their training schedule, at what age they got involved with hockey and if being on the team was a full-time gig.
Watching these athletes practice was amazing. To overcome whatever they experienced in life to be on this team and be in the physical shape to move their bodies and equipment was a lot for me to comprehend. These young men exemplify the idea that all people have the ability to forge ahead no matter what conflict they have faced. A good lesson for most of us to learn. I felt privileged to be a part of this event, being able to sit with these athletes, allowing us to enter their very special world.
Children and adults with special needs were able to try out the sleds. The team members taught them how to move and shoot. One precocious little girl bragged that she pushed three people over and made seven goals. She also sat at the head of the team's table at dinner time. At 8 years old, she already seems to have what it takes to overcome her challenges and forge ahead.
|Note the red patch on his back, RESPECT.|
|They move their sleds quickly using short hockey sticks. One end of the stick has spikes for pushing on the ice and the other end is like a typical hockey stick. The flip back and forth happened so fast, I did not even notice.|
|The sleds sit on a double blade. The athlete balances while using the sticks to move swiftly across the ice.|
|The person on the left is a child trying out this sport.|
|Here's the little girl I mentioned, ready to knock people down to make those seven goals.|