So, growing up, my brother, Noe, and I’d go each Summer to a tennis expo hosted by Nurses Unlimited, which then, also sold and fixed our chairs. Now, that branch’s named Mobility Unlimited. The branches are building neighbors.
Anyway, since my folks were one of the most known family doctors and maybe the only fam with more than one crip kid, we got invites. Of course, Noe was a permanent fixture in the house, so he came along more than once.
At these expos, the employees’d get some of their manual chairs and get in them to demonstrate wheelchair tennis. Normally, they’d find a professional athlete in the sport to really show it’s done. It was fun watching these dudes run circles around the Nurses employees, honestly. It was awe-inspiring when they’d get a good play going back and forth.
After they did their demonstration, they’d turn us loose to give it a go. They’d pull out a few dozen rackets of various sizes with various kinds of wraps to cover the various cripnesses, so that everybody was able to hold a racket. Then, they’d bounce a ball just over the net, so we could hit it head on and know how high we had to hit said ball back over the net.
My brother had no problem holding the racket. He just had to work on his eye and hand coordination. When he connected, the ball was definitely going over the net. My bro had muscles to spare. Noe had no problem holding the racket, but his MD made his muscles weaker, so we had to figure a way for him to use inertia in his favor once he got is swing. With my CP, I held the racket overhand while it was ACE-bandaged around my wrist. When the session was over, there’d always be a perfect imprint of the fabric on my skin since I played so hard. It was aat these expos, I met my boy, Chas.
When my brother died in February ’00, they gave us a plaque in his honor, which I’ve got on the memorial side of our living room wall, so everybody can see.
Be good to each other.