Playing a sport always brings with it a feeling of camaraderie and laughter. This proved true once again when the game of softball was revived among people with physical disabilities, ranging from 11-year-olds to middle age. There was no one keeping score and everyone enjoyed a fun-packed evening at Covelli Centre.
The Reason for the Games
Cara Hahn, the ASPO Program manager for Mahoning County, said that the game went very well and they were pleased to see so many people turn out to have some well-planned fun. Hahn, who was the former event coordinator at Mill Creek MetroParks, is focussed on bringing about interest and participation among people with physical disabilities so that they continue to experience all that life has to offer.
How did it all pan out?
Athletes who were physically disabled did not hesitate to get into their sports wheelchairs and enjoy a day out with their fellow mates. Family members and organizers of the event also participated in the sport that was held in the parking lot.
It was thanks to the combined efforts of the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio (ASPO) and the Youngstown Park and Recreation Department, who came together to organise this wheelchair softball game, that this game which happens to be the first in a series of four games that will take place every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:00 pm for the month of August, received such a warm response. The location that has been set aside for the activity was the Covelli parking lot.
The initiative of providing sports wheelchairs was taken up by ASPO. This event was open to everyone having primary physical disabilities, including those who are in wheelchairs. The equipment for the sport is provided by the organizers and there is no fee to enter.
Getting into the Crowd’s Mind
Linston Spann, a 44-year-old who was shot in 1992 during a drive-by, actively came to participate in the games. Kevin Glines from Boardman, aged 37 and born with a disorder known as spina bifida, along with Jayden Brown, all of 11 years old, residing in Youngstown were some of the participants who came together and revived these games for people with disabilities.
Spann claims to have played wheelchair softball in the past and even participated in sled hockey and basketball. He said that these events gave him a chance to go out and meet people.
Kevin Glines’ father, Thomas, candidly expressed how much his son loves wheelchair sports particularly because they keep him occupied and involved, all of which help him to stay healthy and active.
Charitter Brown’s twin sons, Jaden and Jordan, both participated in the match. While the sport was fun for Jaden; Jordan, who is not afflicted with spina bifida, also got to see what his brother goes through.
The Road Ahead
Being a non–profit organization, the ASPO works toward promoting health and well-being of individuals that suffer from physical or visual disabilities. Their approach is through recreational and competitive sports.
So if you know anyone who would like to revive their spirit of sportsmanship, particularly people with disabilities, this is a good opportunity for them to do so. The ASPO centre has moved its base to 100 Kurzen Road North, Suite B, Dalton Ohio. You can always contact them at 330 – 985 - 0085