According to U.S. Census Bureau, about 57 million Americans reported to have some form of disability. The actual number would likely be higher, because there could be people out there who did not report their disability fearing other people’s judgement and the overall stigma associated with disability.
University of Washington has compiled a list discussing the appropriate ways of dealing or working with people with disability.
Introduction to Beep Baseball
A legislative bill, Americans with Disability Act Education and Reform Act of 2017, was set to be discussed at the House floor. A House committee approved the bill on September. The bill, if enacted, will modify some of the provisions in the landmark disability rights law.
I was working on the impact the law might have for my college newspaper. During my research, I stumbled upon a few notable people with disability, namely, Stephan Hawkings, Stevie Wonder, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo, among others.
With that in my head, I was passing time going through Facebook and YouTube, then looked for athletes with disability. Diving in for more unfamiliar sports, I got Beep Baseball.
For me, having never watched a complete game of baseball, Beep Baseball seemed intriguing.
I was able to find a Beep Baseball team in Dallas/Fort Worth. I Facebook-messaged the manager of DFW Roadrunners, Ozzy Calamaco. And the same day, I received a reply.
This very act of how Mr.Calamaco was able to reply to my message via text was peculiar to me and sparked curiosity. There were no typos–I regularly send texts with typos.
Turns out, he uses voice-enable service in his cell phone to communicate with the phone and do all the function a regular phone can do.
I requested him an interview to have a conversation about the sport and how it’s played. After determining a time and place, I signed off with a “I’ll see you there.”
Then, a sudden realization hit me that how taken for granted people take the most important of things in life.
Putting myself in their blindfold
After spending some time with the team conducting interviews and taking video footage, the team offered me to take a swing and try to hit the ball–blindfolded.
I was nervous at first, then scared that I would tumble. But then I put on the blindfold. It was indeed frighteningly dark, just the way I had imagined. I grip the bat tight. I pull my ears out and waited for the pitcher to shout at me to be ready.
“READY,” the pitcher shouted.
“Ready,” I said, although I was not.
The ball is beeping. I take a swing. I miss completely. I could not see how badly did I miss the ball, but everyone on the field could feel it.
On the third try, my bat made contact with the ball. My hands were electrified, which moved throughout my body. The sensation of hitting the ball was amazing. Everybody then shouted, “run.”
I was not at all prepared for a run, let alone blindfolded. But, I did. The best feeling was when I fell to the ground.
Comment how you feel about this incredible sports, or any other sports played by people with disability.
Do you know any?