I still don’t have a disability, but I wrote this anyway. I’m dedicating this to the USA’s Paralympic team, especially our gold medal winning hockey team.

When I first stepped through the doors of FDR Academy, I was terrified. Two months after losing my sight, I was forced to reckon with the only thing worse than losing my vision- transferring high schools. It was a scary proposition, but it may have ended being for the better. Franklin Roosevelt has managed to be one of the few places where I can be a regular kid. No one here babysits me or steps on eggshells to avoid a seeing idiom. They just mention their name when they walk up to me so I can learn their voice and hear them coming.
People are consistently worried about me losing things in the darkness, but I found some of the coolest people since I changed school. My friends are all disabled like me, but more than that they’re all ultimate jocks like I am. We think that the end of one season is just the beginning of another sport. FDR is known for being one of the best Parasports programs in the country.
With every amazing team, there’s an even greater rivalry. On the other side of town, there’s a neighborhood high school, Polk High, that antagonizes us for reasons that have been lost to history. All we know for sure is that it has nothing to do with ableism- it’s all about some petty thing that is probably insignificant. Ever since then, though, the two schools have been absolutely vicious. Some of the things done in the name of this high school should be etched into stone for how heinous they were.
The highlight of our rivalry is the Wheelchair Rugby we play each fall. When this rivalry began, we got to pick what adaptive sport we wanted. We naturally chose the sport that everyone calls Murderball. Polk High doesn’t have a Wheelchair Rugby program, but they field a team from whichever of their football players are the most aggressive in a wheelchair.
My junior year, after the Murderball game, my friends and I went toward the locker room to meet up with one of the players on the team we knew. Just as we were walking out of the locker room laughing. One of my friends yelled out:
“Hey, what are you doing?!” The three started to run toward us, and someone made the mistake of brushing past me. They gave me just enough time to grab them by the arm and pin them up against the wall. Someone came behind me and said to me:
“I’m gonna need you to let go of my friend.” I reach behind me to find him, but he’s evading my grasp. I turn around and try to get in his face. He naturally does the same to me. I feel his breath on my face and fling him from in front of me to he ground. They always fall into that trap. I snidely remark:
“Don’t you two know not to mess with a guy who’s got a black belt in judo? I’m over 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds. Even blind I can still probably kick your ass. So tell us, what did you all do in there?” Before we could get an answer, there’s yelling coming from the locker room. My friends and I head into the locker room and find that everyone’s wheelchairs and legs have gone missing. I try to run out and find those guys again, but of course I don’t hear a peep out of them. The only disability I have right now is the inability to find my rival’s bitch-asses.

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About the Author

Andrew Walker Watson is a sophmore International Studies Major. He loves Brazilian rap music, discovering useless facts, and, naturally, writing. If he could ever stop staring out into space, he would like to start a global movement to change the world and guest host Saturday Night Live.