You might remember me mentioning that the “Handball Machine” was the catalyst for those “Macifications” (mods to Mac’s wheelchair) his classmates worked on last year?
The kids (Mac included) just decided one day Mac needed a way to play handball. Their idea was to have something mounted at the front of Mac’s jogger to allow him to “play” without getting hurt.
For days, I would turn up at school with them telling me what they had tried, asking me to bring in more items to test, giving me the results on their experimentation.
Some of the failures included:
- bin lids (too hard to mount and metal)
- tennis racquets (too much chance Mac could get hit if they didn’t aim well enough)
- plastic container lids (too flimsy)
- various wheelchair trays (too big, too little, absorbed the bounce of the handball too much)
Someone came up with the excellent idea of a Crazy Catch (a ball sport reflex/catching trainer). I was dispatched immediately to purchase one for the ongoing experiment (cost … inconsequential ;-) according to the kids)
The feedback following their ‘first trial run’ was that they felt a customised size was necessary. Followed up by a simple “could I make that for them” (hooray for hacksaws). A couple of cheap golf buggy umbrella holders to help hold the Crazy Catch arms in place and the odd piece of velcro was all it took to make their invention a reality.
This year their “hack” has moved onto the football field. The net angle gets reduced a little, Flag Football tags (AusTag here in Oz) are attached on the side of the jogger to allow Mac to be ‘tackled’. Their next planned mod includes a pouch on the front of the net to allow the ball to be passed (with a degree of skill including reverse spin or perfect placement) to allow it to roll into the pouch.
I love watching these ideas come to fruition and then evolve.
Mac loves being in the midst of it all and considers himself “quite good at handball”. Although i’m not sure the speed and chaos of the football field won’t win him over. Time will tell.
It is very ALLsome.
VIDEO AUDIO DESCRIPTION & SCRIPT
So, it's not that cool when you can't play handball with your mates. But with mates like Mac's it's 'way cool'. At our school the kids invent mac-ifications. That is, modifications to Mac's wheelchair so they can all do more things. Like this handball machine. All they needed was a bike jogger, a Crazy Catch, two umbrella holders and some velcro. (video footage of the kids playing with the ball bouncing off the front net). Pretty awesome don't you think? Just goes to show... when ALL means ALL, we make the world more ALLsome.