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Sitting Volleyball

December 30, 2011

Sitting Volleyball

What did you say?  You said you wanted me to help with a sitting volleyball tournament? That was how it all started when I was asked by the Rwanda Olympic Committee Vice President to help.  Did I know what sitting volleyball was?  Well the sport’s name does kind of give it away.  But, whereas I have played or at least seen most sports, I had never played or even seen this one.  Sitting volleyball is volleyball for the disabled that have lost mobility in their legs or have lost their legs partially or completely due to disease or amputation (my definition, by the way, completely unofficial!)  You can find out more about this sport at: Paralympics Sitting Volleyball.  So, there I am volunteering to help as part of our ATN sport’s ministry with a sport I knew nothing of.  Well, how bad can that be?  Assumptions were made, not by myself, and one week before the 2012 London Paralympics African Qualification Tournament, being hosted in Rwanda, it was announced that I would be the Venue Manager for the six nation tournament.  I said some things that I’m not proud of, bade my family goodbye and headed out for some quick study of what my ‘volunteer’ assigned job would entail.  Truly, ignorance is bliss, I must concur.  The stress didn’t hit until I downloaded and looked at my 144 page manual for the event!  My job would include managing all the venues; practice courts, training facilities, and competition court; security for the venues; overseeing spectator areas, including the VIP section (not fun); and maintenance of the venues and all of this in the Rwandan language, ikinyarwanda!  Knowing this to be the impossible task that it was, I started with prayer and asked for good helpers.  God of course provided and after working on logistics for several days prior I had enough fellow volunteers to be able to manage the tournament.  There were many highlights to my experience.  First of all, God helped me to form many relationships from my now dear friend and court manager Pele to the Minister of Sports, Youth, and Culture to the High Counsel from Great Britain.  Secondly, I now know sitting volleyball and am such a better man for it.   I don’t think I’ve witnessed athletes this courageous in all my years of sport.  It was truly inspirational and because of them I am especially privileged to have taken part.  Thirdly, it was great exposure for the Taekwondo movement in Rwanda, as they provided entertainment for the closing ceremonies and myself, along with four of our masters secured the venue and provided protection for the Minister and High Counsel after Rwanda’s Gold medal victory (I just knew all that training was going to come in handy and it did!).  I must say it was a fun but very exhausting week, I even had to work as match announcer for the tournament, and now I am looking forward to the spiritual fruit God will provide through the relationships He formed for me.  Let’s play volleyball!

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