Right now it is late Saturday afternoon and until now I have done absolutely nothing except watch TV. It seems so pitiful to me that I have wasted away such a beautiful day sitting in front of an illuminated box. Saturday’s used to be the day to break away from the confinement of indoor life and enjoy the many splendors of the outdoors. An ideal summer afternoon in Boone, North Carolina would be spent hiking among the dense foliage of the mountains. Hidden amongst the ridges of mountainous earth we would find a stream reserved for only our pleasure. Slowly the sound of running water would be heard and upon appearing from the shadows of the wood, a magnificent oasis would appear. I can see the crystal clear water shimmering beneath the sun, forming a pattern of elegance then cascading off mammoth rocks and filtering down to a peaceful pond below. There I could float on my back and gaze up between the ridges of trees, as each cloud made its appearance and then departed to create some other work of art. Clouds in the mountains always seemed to be so much more powerful, detailed, and contoured, each with a story to tell. As I lay on my back, the water would sting with coldness but seemed to refresh and revitalize my being, as if the life of the stream seeped into my bones. Eventually, my teeth would begin to chatter and I would find a cozy spot among the rocks created for that moment. They’re the sun warmed granite would transfer its heat onto my back as the sun’s rays permeated my skin, disposing of each droplet of water. There I would sit until the sun began to dip below the treetops, informing us that it was time to go.
If my ideal day could not be fulfilled I would make sure that somehow a collaboration would take place between the day and I in order to enjoy myself. Whether it be simply throwing the frisbee out on the grass or hopping on my skateboard to charge some hills, I would then be satisfied knowing that the day was not wasted. Now, a gorgeous day comes along and I feel like I’m in a game of poker with a great hand but I have no money to take advantage. Sure, I can sit there and enjoy the fact that I’m holding such a great hand but this does not quite quench my thirst. I suppose simply having the experience of being part of beautiful day will have to do for now.
I finally saw the movie that I have seemingly anticipated for so long now. Earlier this summer I discovered a documentary was being released called Murderball which tells the story of several quadriplegics who play quad rugby for the USA national team. It also focuses on the Canadian team’s coach, Joe Soares, who used to play for USA but got cut from the team. Originally the movie was to be shown at the Manor theater on August fifth but the theater was saying they weren’t even sure if they would release the movie there. I was pretty frustrated with the situation and was writing letter’s and making phone calls trying to get this movie released in Charlotte. The Treasurer of the Charlotte film Society was adamant that somewhere the movie would be released but I had my doubts. Finally, the Manor theater informed me that Stone Crest would be releasing the movie on August 26th.
Yesterday afternoon I went and saw the movie with Natalie, who works with ASAP and Greg Taylor, longtime rugby player. The movie was a bit different than I expected it to be but it was still incredible. I was expecting the movie to focus a lot more on the spinal cord injury and what quadriplegics have to go through on a day-to-day basis. This was briefly the focus in the beginning but as the movie wore on the fact that any of those guys were in wheelchairs was irrelevant and hardly noticeable. Instead of the primary focus being how different quadriplegics are, they concentrated more so on how similar they are to everyone else. The fact that they have sex, have girlfriends, struggle with family relationships, and can proudly compete as athletes for United States of America. It was not the directors objective to make the audience feel sorry for the athletes featured in the film but not even give the audience a reason to feel sorry at all. In a way I wish the movie displayed more of the hardships involved with the injury and what one must overcome every day while suffering from paralysis. But in doing so it would merely create more of separation between the audience and quadriplegics by saying, this is how we are different, instead of this is how we are alike. Go see this movie, it’s a must.
After seeing the movie I had a renewed confidence in my position as someone who is confined to a wheelchair. It was a really nice day and I felt like going out to do something so my dad and I went to the mall to look at computers. I hopped in my manual wheelchair because I was also motivated to start training for the upcoming quad rugby season. With my newly strengthened confidence and partly because of just who I am, once in the mall, I was not averting my eyes from any stares that were directed my way. Each person that passed by was looked directly in the eyes. I would give a nod and a smile of recognition to those who looked at me, however I would say about 90% of the people that walked by me would catch my glance and quickly turn away. It is amazing to me how uncomfortable people are by others in wheelchairs. It’s true that it is not polite to stare but it’s even worse when someone recognizes your existence but tries their hardest to ignore you. A would rather have these people just stare at me so I can acknowledge that I’m just a normal guy. If everyone would just go see Murderball the problem would be solved.