Wheelchair Lacrosse Emerges as a New Action-packed Team Sport

by Sharon Kelleher

Sharon Kelleher in action playing lacrosse!

I have a new passion in my life: wheelchair lacrosse. This exciting sport was created two years ago by Ryan Baker and Bill Lundstrom in San Diego. I had a chance to try it last spring and was hooked. Wheelchair lacrosse is a fast-paced game of skill, speed, and finesse. The wheelchair sport is very similar to the game of lacrosse played on two feet, however it takes place on a roller hockey rink instead of a grassy field. There are 7 players on the court at one time: 2 Attack, 2 Midis, 2 Defensemen and a Goalie. Players pass around a hard rubber ball using sticks with nets attached to one end. They attempt to shoot the ball into the net, scoring a goal and one point for their team.

If you have never seen this game, you are missing some thrilling action. Very popular on the East Coast, lacrosse is gaining momentum in the West, and many youth are now playing it in local leagues. In fact, one of these youth, a superstar 13-year-old player named Byron, is a volunteer coach of the Northern California team. Our other talented and knowledgeable coach is Susie, president of the Women’s Lacrosse Team at San José State University. Our dedicated coaches are helping us to get ready for a big showdown against San Diego’s inaugural team this summer. We happen to have the nation’s second wheelchair lacrosse team here in Northern California. Our team is co-ed and welcomes players of all ages, from 12 years old to 50-plus.
San Jose's Lacrosse Team
I have played wheelchair tennis for over twenty years, and although I love tennis, I just can’t get enough lacrosse. I enjoy the team camaraderie, the physical nature of the sport (checking is allowed in wheelchair lacrosse), and wearing all the gear makes me feel like a warrior. While we play, we wear helmets, chest and elbow pads, gloves and kneepads. This gear protects us from other players’ sticks, as well as from the ball. It was a little hard to get used to pushing my sports chair with all the gear on, but now I am starting to appreciate the protection, and I’m getting slightly faster on the court. Feeling invincible inspires me to be more aggressive during our team scrimmages, which makes playing even more exciting.

ABC’s “What Would You Do?” Brings Disability-related Issues to Primetime--Tuesday, February 22!

by Amy Saffell

We’ve all dealt with people who struggle to see past our disabilities to the true core of who we are:  our capabilities, our ambitions, and our passions. Sometimes when I’m being treated with a lack of understanding and respect, I retreat from the situation as quickly as possible, but I often wonder if those people ever do come around in their thinking or if possibly a lack of people with disabilities in their lives leads to continued ignorance. After all, these kinds of lessons are usually learned from a personal connection with someone, not from far-reaching media stories...until now

ABC’s show “What Would You Do?” puts actors in morally compromising or discriminatory situations and shows if the public around them comes to the aid of those in the situation. Hosted by ABC News veteran John Quinones, the show sheds light on many of modern society’s injustices. When they hosted a contest to find a new scenario to film, I jumped at the chance to tell them about experiences that I’ve had relating to my disability. As time went by, I honestly forgot all about it, so imagine my surprise several months later when someone from the show called to tell me that I had been selected out of 12,000 applicants to fly to New York for the taping of the show. I was so excited that not only would I be going to get to experience the lights, the shows, and, of course, the shopping in New York, but also, and most importantly, that viewers would get the chance to hear my story.

You’ll have to watch on Tuesday night, February 22 to see how it pans out, but I was so grateful to the producers for taking such care in making sure that these issues were handled with accuracy and respect. Everyone took a genuine interest in making this episode a success, and it was an honor to be involved, to meet everyone, and to see how the production entailed. It truly was an experience of a lifetime that I’ll never forget. I hope that, because of this show, we all have a little easier time with those who don’t truly know us for who we are.        

Stacy Kaye Named 2011 Role Model in SHAPE Magazine

We are pleased to announce that Stacy Kaye, a mobileWOMEN media 
consultant and upcoming contributor, has been named a 2011 Role 
Model in SHAPE Magazine (February 2011 edition, on newsstands now).

Stacy was injured in April 2000 while working as an on-air reporter for an
NBC affiliate covering West Virginia and Virginia.

Coming soon: mobileWOMEN's personal interview with Stacy!

“Hey Jen!”--Truth versus Stereotype

Jennifer Addis, mobileWOMEN's new "Hey Jen!" columnist
by Jenny Addis
  
This week I'd like to introduce a topic that most people have had experience with at some point: truth versus stereotype. Whether it's regard to weight issues, age, race, sexuality differences or a disability, many of us face stereotypes and misperceptions on a daily basis.

My boyfriend, Paul, works for a seating and mobility company. Like other couples, at the end of each day he and I talk about what took place, good or bad. Paul often has an inspiring and interesting story to share. He never pries into his clients’ personal lives, but since his personality makes others extremely comfortable with him, they open up easily, which is where my idea for this week’s entry originated. On this particular day, Paul could not wait to share a story with me about his client, who we'll call “Bob.” As Paul was working on Bob's wheelchair that day, Bob decided to share a few words of his own personal wisdom.

"You know, Paul, people in wheelchairs are BETTER people than able-bodied individuals."