Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wheelchair Pool: Persons United for Self Help in Northwestern Ontario

Wheelchair Billiards GraphicMy billiards buddy, Jerry Su, sent me a great read to check out. The post, which comes from The Chronicle Journal, highlights wheelchair billiards, specifically, focusing on Persons United for Self Help in Northwestern Ontario’s (PUSH Northwest) annual wheelchair pool tournament.

It is one interesting read! Truly, a very worthwhile endeavor! And I kid you not! Kudos to PUSH Northwest!

Wheelchair pool offers different perspective on the game

PUSH Northwest was rolling in the dough Saturday afternoon during its fourth annual wheelchair pool tournament.

Persons United for Self Help in Northwestern Ontario (PUSH Northwest) hosted the event, which raises money to help promote awareness of disability issues, at Fat Cat‘s Bar and Grill in Thunder Bay.

Participant Carl Levesque has won the tournament twice and said he comes out for the fun and the support.

The 31-year-old has been in a wheelchair for 10 years as a result of an automobile accident.
“It helps people with disabilities to get out and have some fun,” he said.

A wheelchair hasn‘t stopped him from joining pool leagues in the city either. He has twice won his way to Las Vegas to compete in tournaments there.

Ronald Brunelle, 56, has used a wheelchair since he was injured in a workplace accident 20 years ago.

He said along with his family, pool has always been the love of his life. Though, he said, learning how to play from a wheelchair was frustrating at times.

“It was difficult for a couple years, but as I get used to playing in a chair I actually feel bad for the people who have to be standing all of the time,” he said with a laugh. “They get tired,” he cracked.

Brunelle said there aren‘t many advantages for pool players in wheelchairs.

“You‘re at the right height for eye level, but that‘s about it. But like anything in life you‘ve got to look at the positives. There is an awful lot of negatives, but it is great to be able to come out and play,” he said.

Anyone who wanted to play in the tournament had to play from a wheelchair, even if they could walk out of it at the end of the day.

“It gives them a good perspective of what it is like to participate in activities while in a wheelchair,” said Al Buchan, PUSH Northwest‘s treasurer.

Each player had to raise at least $30 in pledges or pay $30 to participate in the tournament.

Buchan said at the event that he had yet to count how much money was raised.

“We are a non profit agency so every little bit helps,” he said.

PUSH Northwest was founded in 1981. The organization acts as a voice for people with disabilities in the Thunder Bay region and works to remove barriers and promote inclusion.

"The AnitoKid supports wheelchair pool!"

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