For me, it was a day of firsts.
Today I attended my first ice sledge hockey game and my first wheelchair curling game.
I was fairly uneducated about both of these sports before the events, but after I had a much better understanding.
What I learned today:
- the benches in sledge hockey are made of ice rather than rubber
- wheelchair curling is co-ed
- in sledge hockey there's a penalty called "teeing" which is given to a player who charges an opponent using any part of the front of their sled
- wheelchair curling does not involve sweeping
- sledge hockey is three 15 minute periods, instead of 20 minute periods like in ice hockey
- 4 games of curling go on at the same time, which I would have found very hard to follow except for the fact that my eyes were fixed on the Canada vs. USA game
- there is no women's sledge hockey
- the face-offs in sledge hockey are taken with the players sitting sideways
I know being a Paralympic reporter and all, I should probably have know all these rules, but I've never even seen any of these sports on TV so how would I know. I think that all people are going to learn a lot from these Paralympic Games, and maybe these Games will be the start of worldwide Paralympic knowledge.
From the stands at the Vancouver Paralympic Center I could hear everyone asking one-another about how the score works or even if they know what's going on. It was quite obvious that there wasn't a huge percentage of the crowd who knew about the sport of curling. I am sure though that by the end of the game, people were a lot more knowledgeable about the sport. It was cool to see how everyone was slowly figuring out how the game works. After every end, the crowd had learned something new.
I'm excited for the days to come where I will be learning so much more, and so will the rest of the world!
Another highlight of my day was at the Vancouver Paralympic Center when I went down to the wheelchair accessibility viewing area to visit Kate. We were talking about her run with the torch, then it just to happened that another one of the boys with us at the moment was also a torchbearer, and to the left of us was another curling spectator who also happened to carry the torch. That's 3 Paralympic torchbearers within about 3 meters of eachother! They were all sharing their memories from the relay, they all had amazing stories and memories to last a lifetime. I loved listening to them saying how that might have been the single greatest moment of their lives. What a cool feeling to be sharing that with one-another!