What happens when you go out with your partner to watch the ballgame and you can’t get to the field because it is not wheelchair accessible?
John has known Allen since last October. They have been waiting for the weather to get nice, taking advantage of the days in March that were sunny but still had the bite of winter by sitting out on the patio that over looks the ballpark.
Now for months they had looked out over the patio and talked about the day that would be warm enough with the ground dry enough and the teams practicing enough to venture down to the park. This passed Sunday dawned sunny and warm and the teams were due to start practice within an hour. As John gave Allen a baseball cap to put on (because if his eyes get tired of squinting so will Allen’s) they hit the elevator button “Lobby.” John figured it would be a 10-minute walk to the park.
Out the front door and to the left thinking the path to the ball diamond would become evident once they reached the second corner. After all that is where the patio was where they had watched for spring to arrive.Much to their disappointment it was obvious there was no path. Figuring nothing could stop them – they decided to go through the parking lot and down around and come in from the street and down the sidewalk. As they began their descent it became harder and harder for John to hang on to the wheelchair. The grade was steep and not made for a wheelchair. Through the parking lot, down to the sidewalk by now John’s arms felt like lead. They came to the turn that would take them directly to the ball park, looking up they saw a fence 5 feet high and locked.
This was no longer just a walk to the ballpark this was a mission! John was taking Allen even with the hold up, inconveniences, and out right barriers, nothing was going to stand in their way. Reaching the fence John pushed Allen off the pavement onto the grass and right up to the players’ bench. He was tired, frustrated but they had arrived and were sitting right behind first base.
Then John looked at Allen and Allen looked up to where they had come. John looked up to – realizing what they just did was going to have to be done again only in reverse, and up hill!
It took John and Allen 45 minutes to go back –
We know that people’s lives change when they have personal experiences that show a different position whatever that may be. John is Allen’s advocate he was asked to defend Allen, make sure his rights are protected, to stand by him and do what he could as he would want it for himself. He is experiencing what Allen is through this adventure.
John as Allen’s advocate is now talking to a couple of his friends, a county chairman and a judge, he’s also willing to go to civic groups to get funding for the path. His main goal is to get this path in place – soon. He knows it is physically impossible for anyone in a wheelchair to independently have access to this ballpark. It was extremely inconvenient and frustrating for John as he assisted Allen. He also understands Allen will not be the only one to benefit. It will be our entire community!
I’ll keep you updated on where this advocate goes in regard to making a place for his partner. I can tell you this – it is the first time Allen has been to the ballpark. If John has anything to do with it, it will not be the last – and next time it will only be a10 minute walk!