Champion or Loser? I Decide.

Champion or loser?

My athletic ability is often denounced because I’m disabled. In reality, I’m a Team Canada prospect and upcoming member for Track and Field. Not many people, able bodied or not, can say that and I am flipping proud of that.

At track meets, often able-bodied athletes say my races aren’t real because I’m in a chair. However, once they see me race with dislocated joints, they realize that my sport and ability is completely valid. Compared to friends on university track teams, I spend more time at the track, working on my strokes and improving my speed than all of them. Just because I am disabled doesn’t mean I’m unable. Are my abilities different? Yes, but it still makes them valid.

Basketball has been a game changer for me. Not being the only person who is in pain, disabled and sick makes me realize that everything I do is valid. Some of the players on my team blow able-bodied players out of the water and yet we’re still told it’s “different.”

I may be different but I can still beat you up and down the court (bet). I got onto Calgary’s B team and Women’s team without trying out because I was admitted in hospital at the time but the team knew my work ethic and persistence so they put me on.

My closest friend got me into wheelchair sports and I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without his help. I have always pushed myself not to be the best on the team but be the best me I can be. I’ve worked my booty off to be where I am today and do what I can do.

My uncle, Lee Carter, is the prime example of athletic ability with disability. My uncle lost both of his legs in a train accident. He was a hockey player who had always been athletic but when he lost his legs, he thought that was over. Turns out, he wasn’t taking that as an answer. He began playing wheelchair tennis and became a 3 time Paralympian.

Since I’ve gotten sick, even other wheelchair athletes denounce me. I’m not “disabled enough” for wheelchair athletics and I’m not “abled enough” for regular athletics. I’ve fought to walk, roll and breathe and that can’t be denounced. I love wheelchair athletics and it means the world to me that I can still do sports I love. Sending spoons.

Follow Anikka on Instagram: @confidentlychronic

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