This past weekend we drove to North Carolina for a wheelchair basketball tournament. The tournament was held in Smithfield, NC, and included several North Carolina teams in addition to our team from Virginia. The facility used for the tournament was the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatic Center.
Besides two basketball courts, the Center has a beautiful pool, several workout rooms, and an indoor track. It works out beautifully for these annual tournaments because there is also a kitchen and a large room for providing meals for the athletes. And, it also serves as a birthday party destination for children in the Smithfield area. There were, in fact, two parties going on during the tournament.
As one mother and her two daughters were headed down the hall next to the basketball courts in search of their birthday party room, the youngest of the two daughters asked her mother, "Mommy, is this a hospital?" The mother said, "No, why do you think that?" And the young girl replied, "cause of all the wheelchairs."
I understand why the child might have thought it was a hospital, but it made me a little bit sad. Sad because the only place she thought she would see lots of people in wheelchairs would be a hospital.
Wheelchair sports need to be so commonplace that even young children won't find the sight of many people in chairs so unusual. And even beyond that, wouldn't it be lovely if wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, etc were all so commonplace and expected in all aspects of society that never again would a small child ask her mother such a question as the young girl at the Recreation Center did.
ATM : The concentration and determination on the face of every wheelchair athlete at the basketball tournament!