Inclusive Sports Day

August 15, 2017
By: Erica Rose

Saturday morning, I was scheduled for a story at the Northampton Boro Rec Center. I wasn’t sure exactly what it would be about but I did know it would include kids with disabilities participating in a variety of activities. When I arrived everyone was so welcoming and the participants were pretty excited to see a camera there. They took part in all types of activities that you and I do, from yoga, to relay races and basketball, to bocce, tennis and more! While the day was filled with fun, the story I walked away with was one that went a lot deeper than what the eye could see.

Let me ask you a question. Do you take for granted the fact that you can walk? Or the fact that you “fit in?” Because I know that I do and while I was watching these kids have a blast, not letting their disabilities affect them, I felt an overwhelming joy. Yes, they may be a little different, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be included. While there I had the opportunity to interview Chris Kile, both a volunteer as well as someone who has a disability and the message he gave was so empowering. A few statements he made that really stuck with me were: 

    We’re all people too, and we deserve the chance to fit in.

    Don’t just assume we don’t want to play a sport, because like anyone else we     may be a little timid but would love to try.

    Sports are a vessel for inclusion, and when these kids realize they can do the     same things as others they realize they are not as different as they think.

I always feel a lot of pressure when covering personal stories and I truly hope I did the event justice. I also hope that when you watch the story or read this blog, you too will have a different outlook, not just on life but also on how you treat others whether they have a disability or not.