Posts Tagged ‘paralympics’

Murder Ball

September 16, 2008

Gotta love this game. What a blast!

Each year early in October, I go to a music festival. Thousands of people are there. Last year there was a young woman in a wheel chair. We got talking and I found she had a murderous streak.

“You seen Murder Ball?” she asked.

“Nuh, what’s that?”

“It’s like Mad Max does rugby in wheel chairs. ‘Cept that it’s rougher.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Bloke in America made a movie about it. Get the DVD.”

“OK.”

I didn’t. Didn’t get the DVD, I mean. But I remembered the name and got onto Google.

The movie was made by a bloke named Shapiro. And this Shapiro is an author. Wrote a book named “The Every Boy”. About a teenager getting to grips with life, ‘cept that it starts with his death. Interesting concept, I reckoned. So I read the book. It’s worth a read. And they’re making a movie.

Anyway, back to Murder Ball. I’ve been watching it in the paralympics. And enjoying every moment. Australia has got this bloke named Ryley Batt. He’s got the most extraordinary acceleration, and is a big bloke who can block like a house on wheels when he sets his mind to it.

There’s always a bit of a danger of being maudlin talking about people with a disability. Easy to get a bit teary, work the emotion a bit. This bloke knocks that stuff on the head right off. Try that on and he’d do a ram-raid on the conversation I reckon. I can see him storming into the next Mad Max movie like a natural.

They are planning one, aren’t they? Another Mad Max movie? How can they not since Murder Ball came to earth?

And in a couple of weeks I’m going to the music festival. I’ll be keeping a lookout for that woman in the wheel chair. There’s a little voice inside me saying that she’d fit easily into a Mad Max movie herself.

The Next Opening Ceremony

September 8, 2008

Ok, here we go again.

This one was better.

There, that should do it.

Nah, probably not. Will need more than that, mate.

OK. It had humour, that’s what made the difference. Those round plastic characters at the beginning, and all those kids in the crazy turtle suits. Those guys were having fun.

Perhaps that’s what I missed from the main opening. Everybody was so intent on being serious. It was as if something significant was hanging on it all, something like the national debt or whether the sun would rise tomorrow. Chicken Little serious.

But the paralympics was able to open without that, apparently. At least for some of it. Some of those singers could do with a booster shot into their funny bone.

And having Adam Hills instead of a sports commentator (at least for the Australian broadcast) made for a better sound track.

So, there it is. Humour, humanity, perhaps both are more likely to be found in the face of adversity.

Being Above Average

August 28, 2008

It’s good to be above average in something. Isn’t it? After all, isn’t the whole Olympic thing about being above average? OK, a long way above average, but it’s only a matter of degree.

Well, I’ve figured out I’m above average. In lots of ways.

I have more than the average number of fingers and toes. I have more than the average number of hands and feet, of ears and eyebrows, of elbows and knees. I am above average in so many areas I am above averagely astounded by it.

Consider all those butchers who have lopped off a finger. That kid I used to know who’d done the same thing with an axe to one of his toes. TV presenter Adam Hills with his empty shoe. So many people have contributed to the lowering of the average number of fingers and toes, of legs and arms.

It would take some fancy statistics to work out the average number of fingers per person on the planet, but it’s not impossible to get a close-enough figure. And here’s me with my full quota of body parts, proving me to be just a little above average.

Stands to reason then that the Olympic gold medallists are so far above average. Well, until today in Australia.

Two Olympic swimmers, Stephanie Rice and Eamon Sullivan, proved the opposite today. In a public welcome at a shopping centre they refused to sign anything that was not from the racks of their clothing sponsor, Davenport. The sponsorship deals prevents them from engaging in commercial conflict, we are told. A lot of people queued for nothing and left upset and angry.

We might blame the Davenport people. Or we might blame the legal people. Or we might blame the people who signed the contract, the Olympic gold swimmers. It’s a shared event this one, a mixed medley gold. All share the glory, and all share its antithesis.

In a week or so we will see the next Olympic Games, the Paralympics. The games will be peopled by those who are a bit more average than I am in body parts, but far above average in so many other aspects.

I guess it shows that we are all a bit above average in some things, and regrettably below average in other things. The skill of being real, of being a fully human person, is to make sure we have a good handle on what those things are. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the Paralympians will prove to be a little more above average than some of their able-bodied counterparts on that score.