RHI Indy RIP Wheelchair Lacrosse team picture

What are Adaptive Sports, and why they matter?

My entire blog has historically been about my background in technology and my technology career. To be honest, I started this blog reasonably early in my professional career, and I was living, breathing, and eating technology. It was a nice ‘mental break’ to write about technology instead of learning continuously. However, sports have been a reasonably significant part of my life since I was a child. I started by playing soccer when I was 3 years old, way before I was showing signs of Muscular Dystrophy.

Soccer picture of Matt
Soccer Picture when I was a kid

I even tried my hand at basketball in elementary school; after all, I live in Indiana! As my Muscular Dystrophy progressed, sports were not possible. I directed my attention to computers – which turned out positive, but I still missed athletics. I became a super introverted teenager.

I want to say around age 15, I had a friend from MDA Camp named Jake, who decided he should harass me until I caved in and tried out Power Soccer. Shortly after he began his campaign to break me down, I joined the RHI Indy Storm. I quickly fell in love with the sport, and my competitive edge came out. We traveled the mid-west competing. Eventually, both me and Jake moved to a higher level division team called Circle City Rollers. I played for many years and competed at an international level, check out my about me page for more details.

RHI Indy Storm team picture at 2008 Nationals
RHI Indy Storm at 2008 Nationals

Overall, I attribute adaptive sports for really bringing me out of my shell. I was extremely introverted and anti-social before getting into Power Soccer. I had my bubble, and I enjoyed it. I’d stay in my room all day and night and be content. A couple years after starting Power Socer, I started college. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have handled college, had I not been involved with Power Soccer.

I joined Circle City Rollers just before starting college, and the timing was perfect! Multiple people on my team were going to the same University. It really helped create life-long friendships and to grow as an individual.

Eventually, my professional career and Power Soccer career were conflicting too much; and I shifted my focus to my professional career.

There were many years that I was no longer competitive, my weight had increased, and there were some health concerns. I started dieting and exercising, and my drive to compete returned. I decided not to return to Power Soccer. The sport has become very expensive to compete at the level I previously paid, and ultimately I wanted something that pushed me physically.

I did some research into what adaptive sports were out there, initially with a keen interest in basketball. I decided to go to an RHI Adaptive Sports Expo. At the expo, I discovered Wheelchair Lacrosse and thought this seems rough, physically demanding, and fun! I still play Wheelchair Lacrosse, but I also try to be involved with other adaptive sports. RHI hosts multiple adaptive sport clinics. I’ve done Water skiing, downhill snow skiing, scuba diving, boccie ball, and I look forward to trying others once the COVID-19 issues settle down.

The most important thing to know is that adaptive sports are not just to help you stay physically active. Adaptive sports will help you think strategically, have a healthy competitive attitude and grow your network.

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