During a recent clinic at Ranken Jordan I watched two different junior golfers prove beyond a doubt that golf truly is for everyone. The first junior golfer, who was hitting golf balls for the first time, began hitting from her wheelchair. It did not take long before she asked her therapist if she could stand up to hit. Since one of the things she was working on in therapy was her balance it was a perfect opportunity to get in even more therapy. Typically someone will tee up each golf ball for our junior golfers but that was not the case in this situation. While I was watching her therapist asked her to start teeing up the golf balls. I learned they were also working on her fine motor skills so she had to pick up and tee up her next three golf balls with her left hand which was followed by three with her right hand. She went back and forth like this for almost an hour. How often when you are at the driving range are you focused on which hand you are using to pick up and tee up your golf balls and how wide your feet are for optimal balance?
The second junior golfer I mentioned has been one of our regulars for the last few weeks. When Tommy started coming to golf he was very excited to learn how to play but was unable to open his hand without assistance in order to trip the club. We worked with him to get his grip and as soon as he hit that first solid drive he was hooked! Week after week Tommy has been coming for golf with a smile on his face. At our most recent clinic I was the one with the huge smile on my face. When Tommy got there, he reached out his hand, opened it, and said he was ready for golf! I get excited when I see the kids improving in golf; I am speechless when I see progress like this!
In September I had the honor and pleasure of being part of a panel making a presentation at the 5th annual Sports Diversity & Inclusion Symposium hosted by the NCAA in Indianapolis, IN. During that presentation on dis/Ability in Sports, a question was asked about how we can expand accessibility in sports to all people regardless of ability level. While answering that question I commented that at times we have to be more proactive and take the game to people and places that have historically been overlooked. Stories like these are prime examples of why that is. As mentioned earlier in this post, golf is a game for everyone. People everywhere, regardless of ability, can play the game and should have the opportunity to play. Sometimes it just takes different thinking to match the different abilities to begin the process of creating smiles.
|Honored to present at the 5th annual Sports Diversity & Inclusion Symposium with Nicole Roundy, Yvette Pegues, Dr. Ted Fay, & Steve Jubb|