Dais 11-14

Hey folks,

Sorry for the delay on this last update. We were very busy the last few days of the games, and after returning home, there’s been lots of tasks in re-organizing my Ottawa life.

As I said, the last few days were jam packed. We saw Sitting Volleyball (exciting to watch, and I need to be careful that Trish doesn’t defect from Boccia to this ), blind Judo, blind soccer, and all the Canadian medal round games for the men’s & women’s wheelchair basketball teams (women got sliver, men upset in semis, but still won bronze, both qualifying for London 2012). Needless to say our voices were pretty horse every single night!

We also got a chance to attend a reception for Canadian athletes at a downtown hotel, put on by the Province of Ontario, for the Toronto 2015 ParaPanAm games. It was nice to get some Ontario food & wine/beer (cause the village food court was getting REALLY old). We also got to meet and talk to (and earlier in the day, have lunch with) the Federal Minster of Sport, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (who himself is a person with a disability). It was a nice break from the games.

The closing ceremonies were just as special as the opening, … with one major exception. The main entertainment was what can only be described as “the Mexico version of KISS”. Yes, that’s as bizarre and surreal as it sounds! 

The final night in GDL was spent enjoying the night with a new friend from the cycling team. We got about 1.5 hours of sleep, then started the long journey home.

Although my personal competition didn’t go as planned, it was still a great positive experience which I’ll never forget. It was a privilege to represent Canada, and it only makes me hungrier to be able to do it again next year in London!

You can find a photo album of our whole adventure at (you don’t need to be a facebook user to see this):
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.908990964540.2361786.187902444&type=1&l=366ed313f1
Many thanks to Trish for uploading this album and letting me share it with all of you!

The next few months will involve training for Nationals in March, and doing what I need to do to make London 2012. I’ll keep you all updated sporadically during this time.

Entering the closing ceremony in "Team TK style"!!!!!

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Dias 7-10

We are still alive and kicking in Mexico.  The Boccia competition ended 2 days ago and the team overall did very well.  Out of nine athletes we won 5 medals (2 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze). 

Yesterday we had a productive day at supporting Canadian teammates in other sports.  We started off by taking a trip to the other end of the city to watch our Women’s Goalball team play a tough match against USA.  They lost 5-2, but were close for most of the game.  It was really cool to watch a proper game of goalball.  You are only allowed to cheer when someone scores, very interesting.  Then we headed off to the track, to watch on of our friends compete in the 100m sprint.  We also got to see a few more medals while we were there.  We ended the day at the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball semi-final game CAN vs. MEX.  It was easily the best wheelchair basketball I’ve ever seen.  Canada got off to a great start and held on to advance to the final tomorrow night. 

The plan today is to get some sun and pool time and then head out to watch the Canadian Men’s Sitting Volleyball team in the bronze medal game and then head over to the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball semi-final game at 6pm.  We are keeping our fingers crossed to get tickets to the Men’s/Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Final game s on Saturday.  We also hope to fit in some blind judo before the closing ceremonies.  Hard to believe we will be home in just a few days. 

Even though Boccia event didn’t go as planned, We are still really enjoying our time here at the games. 

 
 

Canadian Women's Goalball team in action

 

Dias 4-6

Day 4 & 5

First of all sorry for the lack of updates over the past few days, we’ve been busy with opening ceremonies and 4 games in two days, and the internet has been very flaky around here.

Welcome to the Jeugo (soft ‘J’) Parapanamaricanos (try and say that 5 times fast).  The opening ceremonies were great and very inspiring.  Walking in a parade like that, is one more item to cross off my Bucket list.  The ceremonies were pretty common fair, as all open ceremonies are, but it was really cool to actually be there.  The entertainment ranged from traditional to kinda cool to outright bizarre.  We actually got back at a decent time, and were able to get a good night sleep as my first game was at 10 am the next morning. 

 

So the pool structure is nothing like I had anticipated due to two major reasons.  One being that two BC2 athletes were reclassified as BC1 athletes (therefore there are 14 BC1 athletes here).  The other reason is that they took the international ranking from before the world cup in Ireland.  This meant that I was again “randomly” placed in a pool as I was considered unranked.  Unfortunately, I ended up in a pool with a teammate Brock Richardson, which meant we had to play the first game against each other (which is a rule to avoid collusion down the road).  I struggled in my first game and lost 0-4.  I had a second game later in the day against a Mexican but even though I felt better, he played quite well and I ended up on the short end of 1-12.  I have two more pool games tomorrow, and planning to take it one game at a time.  The good news is that because there were more athletes, we will now have ¼ finals, which means 8 athletes will make it to the knockout stages.  I still have a chance but the goal for tomorrow is just to play like I know I can. 

Day 6

It was another tough day in the GDL.  I started off playing a girl from the USA and ended up losing 2-4.  I played better than the day before but still did not take advantage of enough opportunities to get the win.   My last game was later that afternoon,   against a Venezuelan.  This was my best game of the tournament by far but unfortunately my opponent was a one ball professional assassin (he had one perfect ball every end).  I ended up losing 1-4.  I officially finished 12th out of 14 BC1 athletes.  It was definitely not what the plan was but I have lots of lessons learned to move forward to 2012 Nationals. 

So the plan for the next couple of days is to cheer on the rest of my Boccia teammates as many are proceeding to the medal round.  Then go watch some other sports in the final days of the games. I’ll try and provide a few more updates before we leave.

Buenos Noches

 

Scoreboard before my first game

Dia Tres (Day 3)

Day 3 here in GDL.  We got another training session in, and it was a good one for me.  I’m starting to feel comfortable on the floor and I have that calm confidence going into the first game on Sunday.  Sounds like there have been a few classification changes.  But we don’t have the draw yet, we’ll get that tomorrow.  The rest of the day involved soaking up some more sun (which is getting to be a nice habit), doing a little work out, and getting some BK ice cream in the “international zone” of this village. 

We’ve been trading pins and generally enjoying the atmosphere of the athlete village.  We missed the Remembrance Day ceremony today (because we were training) but we are one of only 3 people that brought poppies. There is no training tomorrow and we are both super excited for the opening ceremonies.  There probably won’t be an update tomorrow as we will be getting back late from the opening ceremonies, so in order to prepare for the competition we will be heading to bed right after the opening ceremonies.

Action shot from a good practice!

Day 2

Things have quiet down a bit here on day two.  We didn’t have training until 3:30pm so Trish and I spent the morning soaking up the sun by the pool, and going for a quick dip.  The sun is quite warm here, but when it goes away it cools off very quickly. 

Headed off to the venue around 2:30pm and we were able to practice on the real courts today.  These courts are vinyl covered concrete, which is a brand new combination for me.  I started off just getting used to the floor and by the end of practice I was starting to get comfortable, making some consistent releases.  There are many bumps and ridges on the courts, but that will be a challenge for all athletes.  We have two more hours of practice tomorrow, so by the time Sunday rolls around I should be good to go. 

Trish and I are going to have a quiet an d relaxing night to prepare for tomorrow’s practice.  Here is a picture from the day.

Team TK at our finest!

Day 1 Pictures

Our newly renovated "home"

Team Canada Representing

Guadalajara is definitely not Ireland!

 So we have only been here one full day, and I am already realizing that this adventure is something totally different than the World Cup in Ireland.  The flights to Guadalajara (GDL) were the normal hurry up and wait, but went fine.  The fun really started when we arrived in GDL.  We arrived in GDL on time, but it was an intense 20 minutes to de-plane right off the tarmac onto a bus jammed packed like a can of sardines, in order to get to customs.  Once we got our luggage we boarded a bus for a 40 minute roller coaster, police escorted, and holding on for dear life ride to the Athlete Village.  I thankfully decided to use my seatbelt for the first time in 2 years.  We arrived at the village, after going by security with high powered rifles and proceeded to enter the Athlete Village (aka Compound).  I feel very safe in the village, but what concerns me is why there such high security.

Our first full day here started off with a couple of orientation meetings, and then we proceeded to the venue for some training and equipment check.  It turned out that I didn’t need to be classified because it was too soon after my original classification 3 months ago. We practiced for an hour in the warm up area because the competition floor was not ready yet.  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to practice on the courts tomorrow.  We came back and had supper with some friends from the track and field team, and came back to organize our home for the next two weeks. 

The weather has been hot and sunny during the day, but cools off VERY quickly when the sun goes down (perfect for sleeping).  The plan for tomorrow is to relax in the morning and then some more training in the afternoon.  We’ll hope to update you after that. 

Here are some pictures from our adventures so far.

Police Escorted - Roller coaster bus ride to the Athlete village!

Taking a cat nap on the flight