Entry 1 of an assistant’s web-log of the IWAS Powerchair Hockey World Cup 2022 Sursee
In November 2007, at the age of 6 and after a disturbingly bumpy road of a few years’ searching for the (medical) cause of his physical problems, our oldest son was diagnosed with “Duchenne” (which is short for “Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy” or DMD, see Wikipedia). It was the end of our search for an explanation but not the end of the bumpy road and our pretty complicated life, certainly taking into account that his brother (2 years younger) has Down Syndrome.
Our ambition was always to avoid our sons’ disabilities to become the centre and the exclusive focus of our family life. After all, they are boys with a disability, not disabled boys (men in the meantime). It wasn’t easy, it isn’t easy and it will never be (easy). But there are moments when we realize that the fight is worthwhile.
Today, July-August 2022, at the age of 20, our son is not only studying History at the Antwerp University but he is also a member of the Belgian National Powerchair Hockey Team.
And he is participating in the world championship of his sport, the IWAS Powerchair Hockey World Cup 2022, that is happening 9-14 August in Sursee, Switzerland.
However, it is not that this just happened overnight.
Our son started playing powerchair hockey in 2015. But the road to membership of the national team started only in early July 2021 when our son last-minute registered for and joined a 3-day training camp for powerchair hockey players. It was a great opportunity for him to play again, after the difficult Corona-period where all activity had been paused (keep in mind that people with neuromuscular and similar problems are a high-risk group for Covid-19, no matter their age). We had no idea but the camp was co-organized by the coach of the national team. By the end of the 3 days, she invited our son to join the training sessions that were being organized to form a team and prepare for the 2022 world cup. She added that the invitation was not a guarantee of being selected for the WC. He was asked because they spotted some good defending and positioning skills and insights in him. And, as with every sport, more is required in powerchair hockey than just blindly attacking and trying to score. Blocking opponents is even an extremely important part of the game.
In the spring of 2022 our son got the pleasant news that he was selected to be actually part of the group going to the World Cup.
I am joining my son as his personal assistent (a role I’ve already been fulfilling for several years). It means I help him dress, undress, wash and daily hygiene, eat, get in/out of bed, visit the restroom, change chairs, transportation. That is therefore my primary focus when traveling to and being with him and the team in Switzerland.
However, next to taking care of my son, another ambition (honestly, it was a suggestion of my wife) is to report back on our stay and our journey. I figured going back to the origins of a web-log (What’s in a name, right?) and share the story of our presence at the world championship in daily reports. I want to thereby avoid too much over-thinking and re-writing. We’ll see whether that works out. Given that the wifi works out…
I think of these reports as an assistant’s web-logs of the “IWAS Powerchair Hockey World Cup 2022 Sursee”, and I plan to publish them under the heading of “IWAS PCH WC 2022 entries”, where the current blog note is “IWAS PCH WC 2022 Entry 0: Introduction”.
I hope you will enjoy reading all about our adventure for which I envision following episodes:
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 0: Introduction (what you are reading)
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 1 (Sunday 7 August): Gotta go
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 2 (Monday 8 August): Checking in and being checked out (part 1)
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 3 (Tuesday 9 August): Checking in and being checked out (part 2)
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 4 (Wednesday 10 August): Match day 1
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 5 (Thursday 11 August): Match day 2
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 6 (Friday 12 August): Match day 3
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 7 (Saturday 13 August): Play-offs
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 8 (Sunday 14 August): Finals
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 9 (Monday 15 August): After-day