Check here for Part I of the EY Connect Day.
On the day’s program there was “play volleyball with the residents”. For a crazy moment I had thought it would be real volleyball played by residents on one side and volunteers on the other side. Don’t laugh at me, sometimes I am just a bit scatterbrained.
A big area in the activity room was cleared and a net was set up. On one side, 4 residents in wheelchairs were parked in front of the net, including the eldest resident – 101-year-old Edith. The 5th place was a normal chair, occupied by the runner-up, 99-year-old Jenny, who was the only resident I saw that was not in a wheelchair. On the other side, 4 players in wheelchairs in their positions, with one player short. So a volunteer took the place sitting in a chair. The “volleyball” was a balloon bouncing back and forth across the net. Several of us stood behind the chairs to help bounce the ball back into the court when it flew above the players’ heads.
It was such a fun game! I was amazed by the reflexes demonstrated by these elders. They were focused, competitive, tried their best to hit the balloon over the net. Occasionally they missed and the balloon fell to the floor, then volleyball became soccer, they kicked it around until it floated again. One guy kept bouncing the balloon on his head and delivered some great shots – apparently he was a big soccer fan. The volunteer young man sitting in the chair kept wanting to stand up to save a ball but it wasn’t allowed. A staff commented “imagine you are restricted to the chair, with reduced eye sights and hearing, and with arthritis.” My respect for these high spirit players raised to a new level.
The game lasted for about 45 minutes, with a couple of substitute players. Edith and Jenny played the full game. Another lady sitting at a nearby table clapped her hands and knocked on the table to cheer the game on. I wish I had a photo to show the exciting scene, but we were not allowed to take pictures of the residents. Nonetheless, I will always remember this game and the impact it had on me.
To be continued…