Wheelchair Rugby in Photos

As a wheelchair user, it's very interesting to work for a provider of complex rehab technology. At Custom Mobility, my place of work, I have the luxury of servicing both my wheelchair and my vehicle. Aside from this obvious perk, I've also been able to attend a variety of functions, inclusing expos, seminars, shows, and even sporting events. While these experiences are incredibly fun, I have to be keenly aware of one dire factor: I'm at work.

On January 18, 2019, the All People's Life Center hosted the 2019 Tampa International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament. I attended this event for the second year in a row. Through the explosive booms of colliding wheelchairs, I had to navigate the interaction between myself, coworkers, customers, and representatives from different vendors. The action makes it easy to forget that you are representing a company, and that you aren't there to simply spectate.

Since I manage Custom Mobility's social media platforms, I thought that recording the event would greatly benefit our customers. I wanted to show what wheelchair rugby is, on the most fundamental level. To accomplish this task, we used photography to display a variety of factors impacted by wheelchair rugby, which most people might not be aware of. These factors can include families, friends, businesses, clinicians, salespeople, caregivers, and even fellow wheelchair users. I figured if we could capture these interactions with a camera, we'd create content that would resonate with our customers. Luckily, we have an excellent photographer in Luis Rodriguez who took all of the photos in this blog.

As with other sports, wheelchair rugby teaches the importance of perseverance, teamwork, friendship, honesty, humility, and loyalty. These lessons aren't exclusive to the players, either. This small collection of photos tries to capture all of them. My hope is that these photos can showcase these ideals, and that it encourages you to become a better version of yourself. Ultimately, I'd like to ask myself, "What did I learn?" Experiencing the 2019 Tampa International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament taught me that the final score isn't all that matters. What is important is the journey that takes us there.

Kyle speaks with some of the wheelchair rugby players

Prior to a match, speaking with players can give you a good idea of their headspace. Like any competitive sport, wheelchair rugby requires a lot of strategizing between players and coaches to make sure that everybody is on the same page.

Wheelchair rugby players lined up

From the sideline, players eagerly watch their teammates and await their chance to join them on the court. If they know what's good for them, they'll listen to their coach!

Wheelchair rugby players watch their teammates compete from the sidelines

Protecting the goal is the only thing that matters! Well, not really. In this case, our defenders were doing everything in their power to hold off #14.

Kyle speaks with a spectator

While the players had the hard job, my colleagues and I spoke with customers and representatives from other companies. It's a great way to stay connected to the community! Here, I'm describing the unique seating system on my wheelchair.

Wheelchair rugby players discussing strategy in a team huddle

Huddle up! Before the game begins, the coaches and players of the Tampa Generals talk strategy.

A wheelchair rugby player talking with a fan

At the end of the day, the players are people, just like you and me! It's great to watch them interact with their fans. While athletic prowess may be the most important quality on the court, there's nothing more impressive than a humble player.

Friends and family watch on as the action continues to unfold.

Fans and family members look on as the action continues to unfold.

A spectator speaks with a vendor

Since our community can feel a bit smaller than it actually is, we make it a point to remain active in the community and with the lives of every customer. Events like this wheelchair rugby tournament can bring people together who may not have ever met otherwise.

About the Author

Kyle

Around the age of one, I contracted bacterial meningitis. When I was three, I began using a power wheelchair. I've always embraced my disability and taken pride in knowing that I was different than my peers. My desire to learn more about disability led me to study critical disability theory both as an undergrad and a graduate student. I've always been passionate about gaming, which influenced me to write my Master's thesis on accessibility and video games as it relates to gamers with disabilities. In my spare time I love competing in local tournaments for Super Smash Bros., reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, and writing.

Most of the stories here on LiveQuickie.com were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.


Date: 3/12/2019 12:00:00 AM


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