Archive for the ‘bicycling’ Category
Now that I have stated my demand, clearly and concisely, I’d like to note that once again in 2012 the Paralympics follows close on the heels of the Olympics. Once again it has been relegated to a Youtube channel, various other online live feeds, etc, while the Olympics (the Walkie version) is again a world-wide network TV 24-hour a day, weeks-long extravaganza. It’s probably on TV right now. Let me go check………….Yup. It is. Water polo.
Eighteen percent of the U.S. population has some form of disability. That statistic throughout the world is comparable. Everybody knows someone who has some kind of disability that would be represented by athletes in the Paralympic Games. Why is this not on NBC? Do we need a specific TV network just for disability-oriented programming much like African-Americans did with the BET network?
Come on, NBC, it’s 18% of the population! Think of the ratings! Even if just out of curiosity, huge numbers of people would be tuning in to see this. Think of the new ad revenue you would generate from a wide variety of sponsors.
And lastly, you would be providing a service. Network exposure for Paralympic athletes would show the world at large a new side to disability. For one thing, it would demonstrate how many disabilities are not visible, yet very real for the person living with that disability. And it would help able-bodied people become more knowledgeable about a wide array of different types of disabilities. This can only be a win-win situation. The Olympics this year got Paul McCartney to play the opening ceremony. I say we get John Mellencamp to play the 2016 Paralympics on NBC. He’s got spina bifida. See, a disability that is not visible. You’re learning something already.
If you agree, please pass this on.
Well winter is almost over and I managed to avoid getting too out of shape. I think the best thing I did for myself was basically storing up for the winter by doing laps around my block every day during the summer and fall. I was like a squirrel storing a backlog of acorns. Winter is not by any means over, but I think it is getting close. We haven’t had much of a winter anyway, so I’ve been able to get out there occasionally lately. Can’t wait until I am out there every day. It is great cardio workout, but not only that but when I come in, I am not tired. No, no…In fact I often find myself energized after “doing my laps”. Which leads to weightlifting, yoga, crunches, and swimming once the pool opens. My fear was falling off the wagon over the winter and letting myself go. By the Grace, we had a short winter so I am going to be able to pick up where I left off, and add to my fitness storehouse. My hope is that I will only be in better and better shape as I head on into my mid-thirties. For those of you who are disabled I hope you will do so with me. We have enough going against us, in general. We need to take care of ourselves. I became a vegetarian two years ago and the biggest concern amongst people who love me was that I would lose strength by lack of protein. But there have only been a couple of other times in my life (pre-vegetarian) when was this energetic. And this time I have my wife who is much more enthusiastic about fitness than I am. And its only getting better.
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?
I’ve been away from my blog for a little while. I’d like to say that the reason is that I am training for the paralympics, but alas, I have just been whiling away the dog days of summer. My wife works days and I work afternoon-night. So I find things to do, and I have put on a lot of miles doing it. It usually revolves around going to get lunch or snacks or drinks. I may not be training for the paralympics, but I know I’ve put on at least 28 miles in the last several weeks, the equivalent of a good old fashioned Olympic marathon.
So you’re probably thinking “What do you want, a medal?” and my answer is…well…yes.
When people meet me for the first time, they often make note of, or complement me on, the strong, muscular upper body that I have built up over the years pushing myself around in a chair. But what most of those people probably don’t realize is that my belly looks like an irregularly shaped loaf of bread. I guess that’s why it’s called the “bread box”.
But you hear it all the time in the media, gotta get a six-pack, wish I had a six-pack like that guy, I’m working out so by summer I’ll have a six-pack so I can go to the beach and pick up chicks. Whatever. There are superficial reasons, but it would be a nice feeling to have a nice, trim, sculpted healthy body.
In a wheelchair, it is easy to build up the muscle in the upper arms, shoulders and chest, but the abdomen? Most of the people I have ever known in wheelchairs have had a bit of a jelly belly. I used to say that would never happen to me. But it’s starting. Depending on your level of paralysis you may never achieve that six-pack, but I am sure at least you can have a flatter, more solid stomach if you work at it.
Let’s look at the ways that a person in a wheelchair can shed the jelly and sculpt that belly. Because you can push yourself around all day long and it will not make a bit of difference in your abdomen.
First thing is diet, obviously, but most people don’t like to hear that, and I am not an expert so I won’t waste the time with preaching something that I can’t for the life of me, practice. So that’s out the window right off the bat.
And the problem I have with writing this is that there are many different levels of paralysis, but for many paraplegics, and especially for quadriplegics, no matter what you do, you cannot get those ab muscles working. But I have seen some guys in chairs that partake in some pretty grueling physical activities, like skiing, sailing (which is a hell of a lot more physically demanding than it looks, I am told) and racing. All of these things demand balance, which requires you to use your abs, and yet that belly is such a struggle for a lot of us.
But regardless of your level, as long as you have good use of your arms, the best workout you can give yourself in that area, that I have ever had, is definitely swimming…there it is…swimming…the meaning of life! Put yourself on a regiment, a program, and stick with it, and you’ll be telling that gut to hit the bricks in no time. I remember those days. It was about 12 years ago, but I remember it.
It strikes me as really dumb that it is illegal for people on bicycles to ride on the sidewalk. They are required to ride down on the street in the “bike lane”. Right next to where the traffic is zooming by! Two-ton chunks of metal are hurtling by at 40-60 miles per hour and these people on bikes can’t go on the sidewalk, because why? Because pedestrians might get hurt if they are hit by a bicycle? I think this is the idea behind the law. But hey, I am in a wheelchair and I can speed down the sidewalk pretty darn fast if I choose to. I don’t choose to, being a civilized man. And I think that, like me, a person on a bicycle can probably manage to control his/her speed if he/she sees pedestrians approaching on the sidewalk.
Should I take my wheelchair in the bike lane? Is it technically legal for me to take the sidewalk in my wheelchair? If it is okay, is it only because the wheelchair is my primary means of getting around, and a bicycle is a recreational vehicle? If so, then what if I took one of those hand-cycles out on the sidewalk? It’s a recreational vehicle. But yet, as a disabled person, it would still be my only means of getting around at the time, so they’d have to let me go on the sidewalk right?
Doesn’t make any sense. Are we willing to put some people more at risk than others of being hit by a car? Is this discrimination based on the person’s level of ability? I mean hey, I’m the one in the wheelchair here, I am the one getting special treatment, whose life is not being endangered, so far be it from me to complain, but I am looking out for everyone here.
Carrying on in the same vein as my last posting, a friend of mine (also a paraplegic) and I had a discussion a while back about wheelchair sports. It was his feeling that wheelchair athletes tend to be so focused on wheelchair sports that it gives the impression that people in wheelchairs were one-dimentional. I am sure this could be especially troubling for those in wheelchairs who are more intellectual types than sporty. But the way I see it, whether you are in a wheelchair or not, if you love something, if you are honestly and truly passionate about something, then it is natural to show it. Especially if you plan to make it a big part of your life and succeed in it. It is likely the same with guys like Terrell Owens, a football player whom I consider to be passionate about his NFL career. Though I’m sure he’s fairly intelligent, I would guess he’d rather talk about how to get to the Super Bowl than how to reform Social Security. It doesn’t have to mean there is nothing else going on in the athlete’s head. People in wheelchairs took the court in the first place because they wanted the world to know that they could do it just as well as anyone. If we no longer had these passionate men and women, there would be nobody to mentor the younger people for whom sports is also a passion, and we might end up back where we started with the general assumption being that a person in a wheelchair can only take a desk job.