My activist project started because I am a member of SAAC, the student athlete advisory committee and a friend, Theophilus, came to us asking for help to spread the word and awareness of the Adaptive Sport Program that he wanted to start here at UMBC. The adaptive sports program is hoping to finally raise enough money to have a class at UMBC for a physical education credit that teaches handicapped basketball. SAAC’s job was to come up with an idea of how we could spread this idea to the community.
We decided it would be best to make a sub-committee within SAAC to really take on this job. We concluded that we would throw a three on three basketball tournament, where people could sign up teams and donate money to the cause. As well we had several community groups such as the Peer Educators, Student Support Services and members of SAAC provide a table with information about their group at the event. We also had a bake sale going on during the event where all donations went to the cause. Lastly during halftime of the event we had a friend Steve who was friends with Theophilus the guy who originally came to SAAC to speak out about his life experience being in a wheel chair and how being able to play basketball changed him life.
We had a sign up sheet in the RAC and about 20 teams signed up to come and play. Since it was in the RAC most of the teams were made up of athletes. This isn’t a bad thing it just wasn’t as diverse with different student bodies as we wanted. If we could do it again maybe we would have signing up in a different way so there was more then one location that a group could sign up since most of the people that go into the RAC on a daily bases are athletes. Only 15 of the 20 teams showed up, so we had to make adjustments on how we ran the tournament to help make up for that. Next time I would do a bracket that as teams showed up we would just add them to the bracket instead of doing pools because that was very confusing and it was difficult to figure out which teams should advance or not. We did still have a good turn out of people and there were definitely people that showed up just to stop in and read about the event.
This project meant a lot to me from day one. I have been working on this project for several months and started the project before realizing I could also use this as my activist project. Once I realized I could use this as my activist project I started thinking different about how I could use my input and connections to help make this the best it could be. We talked a lot about how the most important part of activism is just making people aware. That was a huge theme for me, I really wanted to make sure people didn’t forget about the cause and just play basketball. That’s why I was so driven to make sure there was an adaptive sports board and that Steven spoke about his story. I also learned how hard and easy to is to be an activist. I could have never done this project by myself but at the same time the parts I did do weren’t so hard. For example, it was pretty easy to reach out to the peer educators and set up a time and place for them to come to. Being an activist is such a good feeling regardless if it is telling someone about the event to actually seeing the event happen. My relationship with activism has changed not because I do things differently but I think about what I do as activist. I would have done this project regardless because I think having adaptive sports at UMBC is so important and I support the handicapped community 100 percent, but looking at it from an activism point of you, I changed my view from doing something good for society to encouraging society to see this project as their own form of activism. I talked to my team prior to the event about how participating in the event whether it was baking food for the bake sale, playing basketball, or just coming to support and read about the different programs that came and had tables set up, are all forms of activism. As well, I would add in how important it was to share these ideas and thoughts to the larger community so they be their own activist in what ever manner and degree regarding the adaptive sports movement. Here you can check out the Facebook page!