Beautiful Days and Murderball

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.

My brain is turning of now.  Goodbye.


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10 Responses to Beautiful Days and Murderball

  1. J-Anderson says:

    Colin, hang in there. I think what you, Keith and Kenny are doing, even though it must be awful hard, is making people see not only what happened in the accident but how it changes your life. No one can really understand it of course, but you guys have the ability to tell us as much as you can with your blogs. We don\’t read them because we feel sorry for you, we read them so we do not make the same mistakes as those people in the mall and turn away when we see someone in a wheelchair or someone who is different than we are. I wish you Peace. Joan

  2. Shannon says:

    Hi Colin!I just wanted to say that I took some time last night to read your archives and that I admire you more now that I did before. I am totally amazed at the way you are approaching this entire situation and the progress you are making. I find myself getting excited when I hear of your improvements…even if you say they are small! You are a great writer and very intelligent!And I will definitely check out Murderball if it comes this way…hopefully it well.You are in my thoughts and prayers!Shannon

  3. chris says:

    Colin,I have heard a lot about the movie and I also hope to see it. My son also 22 was born with a birth defect that left him paralysed. When he was a teen he played on the national junior wheelchair champion team. It was a 5 hour drive one way just for him to play or practice. But it was well worth it. That time of Cliff\’s life gave hime great confidence. There are a lot of opportunities out there you just have to look for themlater Chris

  4. Beverly says:

    Hey Colin,First of all – 1. You are HOW old? 22?! Can\’t be. You are definitely an "old soul." 2. Your ability to be so positive just blows me away. I read some of your entries from your other blog, and I just could not believe how positive you were just weeks after your injury. I want to say thanks for sharing such personal and intimate thoughts from the very beginning of your injury. How in the world did you muster up the courage? Says a lot of your parents, I think. I found your space from Kenny\’s. I found some other wonderful blogs as well. I feel fortunate that I was able to be introduced to such wonderful writers. I\’ll definitely be back. Thanks again for being so honest and selfless.

  5. Anita says:

    Whow!You are awsome!I think that yuo can help Kenny lot more then any of us loyal readers can. He\’s a great writer, but you\’ve got the actual power to go on! I saw the pictures, and I wish that you could share them with the world. I tried to encourage my patients to go out and actually DO things, but most of them just slipped through my fingers, and drowned in depression.May I ask what was your inspiration?What gave you the strength?I will be checking your site, and reading on, I hope that you could visit mine sometimes!Ariel

  6. Laura says:

    ~cool space~ :o)~Laura

  7. Anita says:

    Good morning!Thanks for your comment, and the answer to my question.Now if I could just have you bottle your will to go on, and help you sell it on e-bay, perhaps I could quit my job, and make you wealthy as well.As far as my Christianity goes… I did not take it the wrong way. It\’s been a long journey, and I took many short cuts that ended up in a dead end. I really think though that it was the other religions that I have practiced, that made me fully devoted to the personal realtionship that I have with Christ. After all He is the one that has tought us to think outside of the box, and this is why he was really hated by the sociaty that he lived in.Keep in touch Colin, and let me know if you need anything!Ta ta for now,Anita

  8. Unknown says:

    Hi Colin-I just found your blog from Kenny\’s site and am just getting into reading it and checking out your website. I was wondering, have you considered making a documentary of your own? That way you could delve more into the different aspects of a quad\’s life. Just a thought… I look forward to reading more from you.Take care and have a great day!

  9. WHITNEY says:

    Hi, I found your space through Kenny\’s, and I must say, you guys totally make my day! I love reading the inspirational stories that you have to tell…kudos for waterskiing, by the way! Those pictures were awesome! Not incidentally I did in part decide to comment on your space, because I also live in Charlotte. I have an uncle who is a paraplegic, and I think that the waterskiing stuff is awesome. I would love some more information on it, so that perhaps we could get him to try it. He loves the water and jetskis, but that\’s not quite the same as waterskiing! Please e-mail me with the information, contacts, etc. Thanks!

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