Thursday, January 20, 2011

National Junior Disability Championships 2010 - Chicago

Well, I have to add a disclaimer to the beginning of this post.  This is all second hand information for me.  As most of you know my husband Beau is a youth pastor and long before we knew anything about the NJDC we had planned a mission trip with our youth group that very same week.  We wanted Bryson to be able to go to the nationals when we found out about it but knew we could not go ourselves.  My parents were going to be watching our kids during the mission trip so we asked Beau's parents if they would be interested in taking Bryson to the nationals.  They were more then willing - which we are so thankful for - so any pictures and information I have came from them. 

Getting there & arriving at Chicago

Long drive - but nothing a little DS won't help!

 The loot from the welcome bag!

Activities for the athletes to experience & enjoy


pretty sure he was showing off his muscles

It sounded to me like these experiences and the new relationships he made were worth the trip in itsself.  The competition was just secondary.  These are the parts I wish I could've been there to see.  I could see him swim anytime but these moments seem priceless.  You take a kid who all year gets to see very few other kids that are like him and then put him in a place where he sees other kids like him and he just blossoms.  You can just see the joy and excitement on his face.  Really I can't wait to get to take him this summer.

The Opening Ceremony

Bryson's team that was there for the ceremony "Wayne County Wildcats"

Parade of athletes - check out Bryson - he is forgetting to stay with his team.

Just love how excited and proud he looks - I'm sure around here nobody even noticed his leg.

 Bryson with some of the other athletes enjoying the performance
This was the Jesse White Tumbling Team - Bryson was pretty impressed!

New Friends!

The Competition

Like I told you before, the competition really became secondary.  From what I hear Bryson was a little tired and really didn't have his best times.  I saw the videos and he even looked a little sluggish.  It was a whole different atmosphere at these competitions compared to what he was used to.  He had weird practice times, races in the evenings (late for Bryson) and he would have to be alone waiting for his turn for a long time - only coaches and swimmers were allowed by the pool so the grandparents were up in the stands.  He had his DS to keep him company but it also became a little of a distraction from what I hear.  That being said, even though his times were slower he was able to place in the nationals.  Here's what he got:
25 M back - 2nd place
25 M Free - 1st place
50 M back - 2nd place
50 M free - 2nd place
Not bad for his first nationals!  It will be fun to see how he improves this year.  Just the maturity and the growth of his body will be a huge advantage from where he was during this competition.  Again this year we only let Bryson compete in the swimming competitions because we didn't know what he would be able handle, but there really are so many more events he could be participating in.  Hopefully we will get him into some of the track and field events this year.  I'm sure it would be a huge confidence booster for him to be able to race against people with his same abilities.

Experiencing a basketball wheelchair - looks like he enjoyed it.
Playing soccer with his new friend.  His new friend had no legs or arms, but Bryson wasn't about to cut him any slack and I don't think the guy wanted him to.  Pretty cool!

Dressed in his pjs and ready to head back to Ohio

My favorite picture from the week - man I love this guy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

West Virginia Games - Finally!

Well, with the new year, again, I have decided to do more posting about Bryson. The reason for this blog is not to brag about my kids - if I wanted to do that I would post about all four of my children (you can see that on my facebook). I really want this blog to speak of God's redeeming power: how He can take a horrible lawnmower accident and turn it into a beautiful story of hope and joy and I would also like it to be an encouragement for others going through similar circumstances. I hope to not only be sharing the good, but also the bad, the sad, the hard questions. I will try my best to be authentic through it all.

So about West Virginia games - kind of left the blog hanging after that, but if you have any connections to our family at all you probably heard the results. Bryson got 1st in each of the events he swam in (25 back & free, 50 back & free) and got his best times. He did standing dives this time which might have helped his times some but you could also tell he was really enjoying the competition. So, with no problem he was on his way to the Nationals in Chicago.

The best parts about these events is that it builds confidence but it is also a great place to meet others with disabilities. I know I have said this before, but Bryson is very sensative to people with disabilities. He really cares about them and loves being with people like himself. I love it that he is very comfortable in these situations and it has rubbed off on my other children. We hope to continue attending these events.

At this competition Bryson got to talk with a news reporter. He really had no idea how to answer the questions but it was cute. He was getting asked some pretty deep questions for a 7 year old. He only knew he was there to swim and to have fun, so asking him questions about what that meant to him went really far over his head. Well, anyway, it made for some cute pictures.

Ready for Nationals!