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Archive for September 2008

Got a Hangnail? You May Be Eligible For the Paralympics!!!

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by Treadmarkz

Of course you’ve got to be a great athlete too, but…

Does anybody else find it disturbing that to qualify for the Paralympics, all you need is a pair of contact lenses? Yes that’s right, apparently anyone whose vision is a little blurry can be a Paralympic athlete.

Granted, I have spent a good amount of time on this blog and on others reminding people that the definition of “disabled” can be extremely broad, even reminding my readers that, in fact, one could argue that those who wear glasses could be considered disabled. But isn’t the Paralympics supposed to be for athletes who cannot partake in the Olympics with fully functional walking athletes because of their disabilities? That was my understanding.

I was watching the Paralympic Judo and it seemed to me that the athletes who were squaring off in the competition had no visible disability. I thought “Did they add Tourette’s Syndrome to the Paralympics?” Because the athletes in the Judo competition definitely had no visible disability, and they had no ailment or disorder holding them back in any way, that is for sure. And this may sound narrow-minded as Hell, but if it is not a visible disability – if it does not visibly hold one back physically – then it has very little to do with physical competition. So I wanted to know what the guidelines were in the Paralympics. So I looked it up.
There are certainly many genuinely disabled people in the Paralympics, and the categories make a lot of sense, and they make it fair so as not to have a no-armed, one legged blind man with cerebral palsy fencing against a guy who is near-sighted. But contact lenses? Seriously?

Do Paralympic Basketball Rules Stifle TRUE Competition?

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by Treadmarkz

In the Paralympics, a basketball team is made up of five players, each of whom is assigned an individual ranking from 1.0 to 4.5. The combined total of the rankings of the players on the court for one team at any given time cannot exceed a certain number, let’s say 15. I saw the opening game of the Paralympics tonight and the commentator made sure to stress that the ranking each player is given does not signify his level of ability, but his level of movement. We are talking about people with all different levels of paralysis here, so I can see what he meant.

But when it comes right down to it, doesn’t Kobe Bryant get more playing time with the Los Angeles Lakers because he is able to move in a more effective way than the other players on his team who play his position? And while we are on the subject of the National Basketball Association for Walkies, why is there not such an individual ranking system in the NBA(fW)? Every player in the NBA has a different level of ability, just as is the case in Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball. In the NBA, everyone has proven himself to be capable of competing at at certain level, and if not, he’s sent to the CBA or whatever, or he rides the bench all season and is used as warm-up meat for guys like Kobe in practice. The guys who are put on the court are the guys who are able to give the team its best chance at victory.
Now, I’m not trying to be an elitist or to exclude anyone from taking part in the Paralympics, which, for God’s sake, was established so that the previously excluded could be included. But making sure that each team has no more than 15 points of ability or whatever it is, on the court at any given time is about a step and a half away from the gym class games of kickball where if one team scores two runs, then in the next inning the other team automatically is allowed to score two runs. Not quite the same thing, but you see where I am coming from, I hope.

Rocking Out For Spinal Cord Injury Research

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by Treadmarkz

The other day I was thumbing through a rack of old LPs at a kiosk on the St. Vital Mall in Winnipeg, and I found a stack of Beatles records that for some reason nobody had snatched up yet. I didn’t waste a moment in deciding to buy the LP version of “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl” and “Yesterday…and Today.”

As if this wasn’t enough for a Beatles fanatic like me, I found out after the fact that all proceeds from purchases made at this kiosk were to go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. A little piece of cosmic serendipity, possibly. I wish I could say I bought the records because I wanted to make a benevolent contribution to the Reeve cause, but that is simply not true. But I am glad I bought them.

I am in a wheelchair with a spinal chord related disorder myself so I had a pretty good idea what the Reeve Foundation was about, but I looked into it a little more last night. I am not going to go into the issue of Spinal Cord Injury research too much, but regardless of your opinion on the controversial issue, what they are doing at the Reeve Foundation can only lead to some good coming to those whose lives have been changed to an indefinite degree by their injury.

Take a look at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation by clicking HERE. I’ll be adding it to my blog roll soon.

How To Get Paralympics Coverage On Your Computer, In Color and In Motion

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by Treadmarkz

I have often heard disabled people deplore the lack of televised coverage of the Paralympics (and by the way, WordPress, Paralympics is a word even if your program underlines it in red when I type it). Even though the Paralympics are every bit as competitive and spirited as the Olympics, and share the same venues as the Olympic games, and the event was advertised on the cups at McDonald’s, the biggest fast food chain in the universe…and yet we do not have comprehensive coverage on network television. Evidently they are watching it in Australia on the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), which goes to show how lacking things are in the States, comparatively, in terms of being progressive and all-inclusive.

By the way, if the Chinese government did not want disabled people in their country to be spectators at the Olympics, how the Hell are they coping with the Paralympics, what with all the cripples now swarming into Beijing? How can China justify fielding teams themselves?

But I digress…

While I still haven’t found any thorough coverage of the events on TV, I have found a site where you can watch 8 hours of coverage every day of this year’s Paralympiad. (That’s a word too, WordPress). Check it out by clicking HERE. The 2008 Games are already in full swing starting September 6th. You’ve got your ticket!