I'm a divorced Mom of two sons. Luke, my oldest, is ten years old and has a primary diagnosis of severe Cerebral Palsy. I think it's important to be active and attend local events whenever possible. I do my best to include Luke in every way possible, if I think he'll enjoy the experience.
Recently, I purchased handicap accessible seating for a hockey game. Luke had never been, and I thought he might enjoy the action. I over-think every possible problem that can arise when I take Luke out. For the hockey game, I reasoned along these lines:
- Indy has a semi-pro team and the games aren't typically over-crowded.
- Great seats are reasonably priced.
- I've gotten fairly decent accessible seats for this venue for other types of events.
I called the fieldhouse three months ahead of time to inquire and purchase seats that would be fun for Luke's first hockey game. I spoke with a rep and explained our situation. We've been to the fieldhouse plenty of times for other sporting events, so I recognized the section of the offered tickets were a lower level, so I was pretty happy with the suggested seats.
When the night of the game came and we were seated, I realized the tickets weren't near as great as I had thought. Since the venue is set differently for hockey, the seats were much closer than other events. Our seats were actually higher up than all other populated seats. As I looked around further, I noticed that there were NO accessible seating areas in the lower area whatsoever. I looked again, and noticed quite quickly, that the only other people as high as us, were all in groups with wheelchairs also.
So, while it's true that the fieldhouse did offer handicap accessible seating, the seating it offered was miserable and away from all the fun. Not one single vendor even came to the level where we sat for all three periods. Luke held out for the entire game. I can't help but think how much more fun it would have been if he could have actually heard the puck hitting the plexiglass. I can't help but think how segregated we were, with the other attendees who were also in wheelchairs that night.