Over the past few months I have been working with our local amputee support group. Last month was our first meeting of the year and we had a darn good turn out. This month not so much, one brave beautiful man showed up. The following is the reason why only one showed up but the following is also my wacky idea, goal, mission, (deep sigh here) silly planning of which, regardless of what anyone may think, I will not give up on.
For weeks I promoted this month’s support group activity; bowling. Yes, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to gather together as fellow amputees and do something a little different, something, which I thought many in our group might contemplate attempting. And why not? It would be a stretch, we’d have to figure things out, we’d be a group who could laugh with and at each other because we have this commonality.
Sadly, when I spoke to everyone (in our group that is) most thought ‘they’d be busy with other things’ or, and I respect the honesty, said, “I can’t do that.” CAN’T is such a foul four letter word, isn’t it.
So Monday, this beautiful brave double amputee, one above the knee and one below, arrived in his prosthetics with is cane and bowled with me. I was in my chair, well a few times I thought the ball was going to roll me out of it, but I stayed in my chair and, even though he and I used the bumpers, we bowled; there was no ‘can’t’ about it, we bowled.
Were we great bowlers? Nope, but even when I had legs, real ones, I wasn’t a great bowler. Did we have a blast? Absolutely. Did others get a kick out of us? Yup. We all laughed, relaxed, and simply had fun. And I know beyond any shadow of doubt, if the others in our group would have shown up, they’d simply have done the same; laughed, relaxed, had fun.
We bowled with my leg maker, one of the guys I work with who happens to be a phenomenal 300 kind of bowler, and cute Kendra who heads up the amputee support group. They have all their body parts so they didn’t get the bumpers.
Anyway, as we were bowling I kept thinking about why do really good bowlers, like Mr. Phenomenal 300 Score Bowler get handicaps? Because they’re so darn good, there has to be a handicap given to make the playing field or the bowling alley more competitive. Am I right here in my thinking? So, for wheelchair girls like me, or toddlers on new prosthetics like me, or those on old prosthetics, or anyone with any ‘handicap’ even if it’s not like mine, let me ask you, “How do you choose to be identified with the word HANDICAP?” I say you are so darn good!
Now here’s my mission, my goal, my idea, as wacky as it may sound ~ I believe there needs to be a new paradigm for age, beauty, and ability. And if that means I have to keep begging folks to come out and do something a little outside their comfort zone, or committing to a mini tri this autumn, or going to elementary classes and reading Dolphin’s Tail; well...wacky, wondrous, whatever… so it shall be!