Would You Walk a Mile in These Men’s Tennis Shoes?
They say you never really know a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes, meaning until you’ve experienced his life’s journey. For the members of the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team, their journey is one of unwavering conviction, a strong allegiance to the sport of tennis, and merited triumph.
Today marks the beginning of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London’s Olympic Park. Thirty countries will be represented by a total of one hundred and twelve competitors from around the world.I’m delighted to say, we have nine outstanding Americans representing us in the sport of wheelchair tennis this year. Competition wheelchair tennis was introduced to the Paralympics in Seoul in 1988 as an exhibition sport, but it was not until the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona that wheelchair tennis was presented as a full medal event.
Wheelchair tennis is played on the same size court, uses the same tennis balls, and the same size tennis racquets as in Olympic Tennis. The rules are also the same, with two exceptions – first, the ball is allowed to bounce twice, and the second bounce is allowed to be out of bounds; secondly, instead of tying on sport-specific, specially designed men’s tennis shoes to enhance their game, they use sport-specific, specially designed wheelchairs, also known as court chairs.
All matches are played the best of three sets; the winners of the semi-finals in each event will then play one-on-one, or in the case of doubles, two-on-two, for the gold.
Our Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team members, five of which are making their Paralympic debut, is comprised of the best of the best! From gold medal winners to U.S. World Team Cup members, they will represent the United States well and make us proud!
Join me in supporting our team, will you? Steve Baldwin, Nick Taylor, and David Wagner, California; Noah Yablong and Bryan Barten, Arizona; Emmy Kaiser and Mackenzie Soldan, Kentucky; Jon Rydberg, Minnesota; and last but not least, Stephen Welch, Texas.
What’s that sound? Did you hear that? Oh! It’s just the sound of ‘We Are the Champions” playing in my head. Can’t help it!
Wheelchair tennis takes an incredible amount of upper body strength and stamina. Doubles players are similar to synchronized swimmers in that they have the added task of playing in perfect harmony with each other to win their game. Yet, there they are, on the courts, in their chairs, winning game after game, never giving their handicap a second thought.
Which brings me back to my question……… Would you walk a mile in these men’s (or women’s) tennis shoes? Meaning, would you, in their shoes, choose the same path they did on their journey, making the same commitment to endure the hours of training and practice it must take to gain the physical strength and learn the skills to do what they are doing? Would you give up? Would you think it’s too hard and focus only on the handicap and not try in the first place?
Sometimes life is hard, but the only failure is found in not trying. So watch our team, cheer for them in front of your televisions; they will know and be inspired simply because not giving up is how they roll!
Client: Do It Tennis