Tag Archives: wheelchair sport
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.
I watch one of Mac’s classmates, “C” scurry back into the room after the bell had gone.
“Have you got one of those wheelchair sheets?” he asked the teacher, “I’m taking one home for my Dad.”
‘What’s a wheelchair sheet?’ you ask …
Well, it seems the kids are working on inventions and mods for Mac’s wheelchair at the moment, some work is going on in class… others are taking it home to keep working on. But “C” decided his Dad will probably have some good ideas on how to make Mac’s chair work for soccer… C’s dad also uses a wheelchair.
I had a good chuckle with C’s mum about the fact her husband is now getting homework.
But… let’s just think about what is going on here.
Mac’s peers and Mac are designing wheelchair modifications and activities to make it possible for Mac to do more stuff WITH THEM.
I’ve seen a couple of the blueprints.
There’s a multi-net cricket catching contraption, a catapult style bowling attachment (yay for the girls for finally coming up with a catapult) and one of the boys is working on how to attach the class carpet sweeper to Mac’s chair, so he can help out with class chores.
Part of this ties in to their “Awesome in August” class challenge, but much of this innovative thinking has followed some of the other kids designing a way for Mac to play handball with them in the playground.
The handball idea was the kids’ initiative. They do seek out our assistance (but generally only when they need me to buy something LOL).
This is our future generation, this is the society we get to look forward to. A society where where inclusion and innovation reign supreme.
So why would anyone want less than this for their kids?
Why do people choose segregated schools, segregated classrooms or segregated activities? Why don’t they want what is on offer in a place where “all means all”, where disability “value adds” and where innovation, problem solving and broader thinking is the norm?
I can see the society I want my son to grow up in, and I look forward to it. I’m not convinced that the other choices don’t actually weaken a society.
Autumn signals the start of the cross country season in Australia.
Once again Mac’s school event was held at our home track.
A couple of Mac’s classmates convinced Mac and Tim (Mac’s aide) to run with them in the 10 years boys event rather than “the nines”. I asked the boys if they were hoping to finish in the places to ensure a spot on the district team. “Nah” they responded, “we usually try to finish in about the twenties”. When asked, Mac thought that was an OK place to finish and was very happy to run with the ‘lads’.
I always remind Mac of his ‘home advantage’ (never mind the four wheels and the able-bodied ‘pusher’ he also uses 😉 ).
But when I say ‘home track’… I’m not exaggerating. The local cross country course is literally the property next door to ours. It’s part of my Grandfather’s old farm – now in the capable hands of my Aunt & Uncle. In fact, Mac & his cousins are sixth generation to live on this property… not bad considering how relatively young our country is.
Mac’s aide from last year “Ms M” had a great chuckle as she realised she hadn’t given Tim the information on how to take a short cut and hide out for the middle two kms… Oh well, they made the distance… Mac didn’t even seem out of breath.
PHOTOS: using Halftone app on my iPhone
Yes, it’s that time of year. Cross Country events are being held in every school just about now – no matter it is also ‘snake season’ – guess that just makes them run faster.
STICKING WITH THE LEADERS
The kindergarten boys raced, one of the Kindy Dad’s offered to push – it was a boys race after all.
After deciding it probably wouldn’t be fair if he won… Mac and Darren (his legs) stuck with the leader pack and pushed them along a little.
The most fascinating aspect is the kids don’t actually see the wheels, the person pushing, or the surrounding contraption.
On arrival at school the next day I was greeted by the kids excitedly telling me “Mac came second”.
I was there at Cross Country, I took photos of all the kids, I watched him ‘race’, I cheered them all on… BUT I love that is completely irrelevant to them.
I actually don’t believe he did finish that high up in the placings but what does it matter? As far as they are concerned…
“Mac came second”