Coffee with Kalari: How Blind Sports Has Impacted My Life!

This article is part of a weekly series written by Kalari, a writer, athlete, mother and employee of The Chicago Lighthouse who is visually impaired. She shares her perspective on a variety of topics in order to build community.

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This Saturday, October 3 is the 3rd annual National Blind Sports Day, which celebrates athletes with vision impairments and increases awareness of sports and athletic opportunities available for the blind community. I always say that blind sports saved my life. I have always been a competitive person and I have always been athletic. Competition is my oxygen and I need to be able to compete to live. After I lost my vision, I still had that need to compete but I could not and this sent me into a mild depression.  I found Beep Baseball at the age of 9 and it has transformed me. I remember feeling as if I was alive again when I hit the ball or tackled a base. I was able to run freely and I was able to compete.  Competing in Beep Baseball allowed me to feel alive again.

Image of Kalari swinging the bat during a beep baseball game
Sports has played a significant part of my life since I started playing Beep Baseball at age nine.

Another blind sport that I have just recently began to play is Goalball. This is a sport that has three players on each side of a basketball court. All the players wear eye shades and we play with a basketball with bells inside. In this sport, you are throwing the ball across the court in order to score. If the throwing team can get the ball past the three defenders, they score. This game is played in two 10-minute halves. It is a very fun game that I wished I had discovered it at the same time I found beep baseball.

Within the last year, I began playing blind soccer.  In this game, the soccer ball has loose ball-bearings that causes a rattling sound while the ball is in motion. This makes it easy to track. Each team has four blind players and one sighted goalie. The game is broken-up into two 25-minute halves. The field is shaped in a rectangle and it is 40 ft long and 20 ft wide. The field is surrounded by kickboards that prevents the ball from going out of bounds. Blind soccer’s pace is similar to that of traditional soccer. It is fast and high intensity. I am just starting this sport, but I already like how it is challenging me in different ways that the other sports did not.

What are some blind sports you are interested in? Have you ever considered playing a blind sport? I would love to hear your experiences! If you want more information on either blind soccer or Goalball you can go to usaba.org. If you want more information on Beep Baseball, you can go to www.chicagocomets.org!

 

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