Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quad Rugby National Championships in Louisville THIS WEEKEND!

- By Keith Hosey -

The United States Quad Rugby Association’s (USQRA) Nationals have returned to Louisville this year. This is a full contact sport like you’ve never seen before. Called Murderball by some, Quad Rugby or Wheelchair Rugby is a “full-contact sport, [where] they smash the hell out of each other in custom-made gladiator-like wheelchairs…. In addition to smashing chairs, it will smash every stereotype you ever had about the disabled.” (Quote from the Description of the movie Murderball).

A couple years ago, I took a teen volunteer group to a Quad Rugby event (quarter finals or something) here in Louisville. As a group we volunteered and, having seen the sport before, I knew it was great exposure to the disability world and would confront many of their possible stereotypes and attitudes about disabilities.  

I’m not sure what their thoughts were about disability before the event, I think I heard one of them refer to it as a “Special Olympics” event.  The tone was not specifically derogatory but a very matter-of-fact, like much of the general public sees the Special Olympics, “that’s nice they have that, but they’re certainly not at a very high skill level” tone (Please know that I’m not knocking the Special Olympics. The athletes that compete in those events train really hard, do a great job, and deserve our respect). This event blew their stereotypes out of the water because these guys are just as athletic as LeBron and Peyton Manning and probably train twice as hard.

You have an excellent opportunity to see these world-class athletes up close and personal. Many of these players will also compete in the Paralympic Games http://www.london2012.com/paralympic-sport, in London right after the Olympic Games. These guys (and gals!) have more athleticism in their pinky than most people have in their whole able-bodies. If you are a true fan of sports, this is a must see event.

More Information, including the schedule, about the Quad Ruby Nationals In Louisville this weekend.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mothers March -- A True Story

- By Cass Irvin -

Someone from the March of Dimes called my house shortly after I moved back to Kenwood Hill.  She was perky and pleasant and she told me all about the Mothers March.  No one from my neighborhood had, as of yet, volunteered to go door-to-door to collect and she noticed from my card in the files that I had collected in my neighborhood several years back.  She thought I was Mom.

She was calling to see if I'd be willing to do it again.  For one second I wanted to say what I heard my mom say when she didn't want to do something:  "Well, we have one of those here at home and I can't really leave her here all alone."

As I listened to the caller tell me how they wanted me to collect donations or leave information at each door, a little angel and a little devil fussed at each other in my brain.

Angel:  You can't say anything to her!  She can't see you.  She doesn't know!

Devil:  But how will she learn if someone doesn't tell her?

Angel:  You're saying it's for her own good, right?  You always say something like that when you want to justify meanness.  It will embarrass her.  It's not polite.  You have to be understanding and sympathetic toward people who aren't aware, who haven't had experience.

Devil:  You're too generous with people.  I'm tired of being the one who has to be generous, understanding and polite.

The caller paused.  She was waiting for my answer.

"Well," I said, "I think you have me confused with my mother.  I would be interested in helping out but I use a motorized wheelchair . . . . and since the houses in my neighborhood aren't accessible, I don't think I could do it.  But, thanks for asking."

Mothers March history
The March of Dimes is a well-known nonprofit group whose goal is to fight birth defects got its name and its start in the story of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Warm Springs, GA.

When Roosevelt started the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, he wanted it to be a premier center for treating polio.  He soon realized treating polio wasn't enough--he wanted to find a way to prevent and cure it so he established the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which later became the March of Dimes.

Originally, Roosevelt raised money by holding a ball in honor of his birthday every year. But it wasn't enough money.  Comedian Eddie Cantor, spoofing the popular March of Times newsreels, came up with the idea of a March of Dimes. President Roosevelt would urge all Americans to send him dimes in support of polio research.  He figured even in the height of the Depression, most people could afford a dime.  The first day, the foundation collected $17.50. But then the money kept pouring in for a total for 2.68 million dimes, or $268,000.

Over 60 years ago, parents in Phoenix, AZ organized a collection: "Turn on your porch light, fight polio tonight." In minutes, more than $45,000 was raised and the annual Mothers March Campaign was born. Mothers March is the first and longest-running March of Dimes fundraising event. What began as a door-to-door campaign to fight polio, a goal reached over five decades ago and has evolved into a campaign to give every baby a healthy start to life.

Today funds raised through Mothers March help fund lifesaving research and programs that help give more babies a healthy start to life.  Every year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers participate in this historic campaign, in communities all across America, to help raise funds and awareness.

Greater Kentucky Chapter Address: 4802 Sherburn Lane, #103, Louisville, KY 40207
Phone: (502) 895-3734    Email: KY365@marchofdimes.com

Kentucky March events: www.marchofdimes.com/kentucky/4221.asp