Although the Paralympics and many organized handicapped sporting leagues are relatively new, athletes have been participating in the sports themselves for years, refusing to let disability stop them from doing what they love. From time to time, someone will overcome the challenges of physical handicap become a professional or world-class competitor in their respective field. A documentary film called “Murderball” was released in 2005 and shined a bright and unfamiliar light on the previously unknown world of one of the most intense sports worldwide: wheelchair rugby.
The film is centered around the American wheelchair rugby team and their struggles both as a team and as individuals to compete in the 2004 Paralympics games in Athens, Greece. Rather than documenting wheelchair rugby as a sport, though, the film introspectively latches onto the mentally and physically taxing lives of the athletes involved, taking a powerful look into the personal obstacles they are forced to overcome to achieve what they want.
On a straight forward level, the movie revealed to able-bodied people the capabilities and fortitude of the handicapped community; on a deeper level, however, the film has psychological impacted the members of the handicapped community as well. The decision to show the wheelchair rugby team athletes as raw, determined and resilient diminished the glorification of their lives and made it possible for disabled people all over the world to relate to the players.
Critics and the handicapped community alike lauded the movie as a groundbreaking and triumphant, tearing down the facade of pity with which the community is sometimes viewed and showing the reality of ambition, frustration and athleticism. This is why the film was relatable: no matter what sport you play or obstacle you face, the challenge of handicapped accessibility is real. Overcoming it to whatever degree, through the celebration and the frustration, is an accomplishment.
At Van Products, we build relationships with our customers and communities as people, capable and resolute, even more so than most because of physical challenges faced everyday. For any of your accessibility needs, be it wheelchair vans or handicap accessibility options, we’d love for you to let us help you keep life the moving experience you want it to be!