“Walking is over-rated”

On Thursday, the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association (NDAA), in conjunction with UVM’s Student Athletes For Equity (SAFE) and Program Board held a wheelchair basketball tournament, preceded by speaker Matt Glowacki. The two-pronged event, held at the indoor track in the PFG athletic complex, was devoted to raising money for the NDAA. Through contributions made by the wheelchair basketball teams and other donations, the NDAA received $610.00. “The event was exceptionally well-attended,” NDAA President Patrick Standen said. “Most of the seats were taken during Matt’s presentation and there were plenty of teams for the tournament. It was great to see.” Glowacki’s presentation, entitled “Walking is Over-Rated,” was a humorous anecdotal lecture on the viewpoint of a person born without any legs. “I like to lie,” Glowacki said to open his presentation. “I tell kids [when they ask about having no legs] that I was staring at a kid without legs, and then a big puff of smoke came I had no legs.” Glowacki talked for about an hour on growing up without any legs, and how his condition has affected what he wished to do with his life. In essence, as Glowacki often pointed out, having no legs has not affected his life prospects at all. “People think I have a huge disability. I really don’t,” Glowacki said. “I believe that there are people here in this audience that are living with greater disabilities. [My success] is not because I’m in a wheelchair. It’s because I’m the person I am.” Glowacki was born in Wisconsin in 1973 and in third grade, in compliance with state regulations, he was forced to wear prosthetic legs, and in ninth grade he was put in a wheelchair. “People always talk loud and slow to me,” Glowacki said. “Ignorant men between the ages of 18 and 32 come up to me and give me money.” After Glowacki’s presentation, teams took the court for the wheelchair basketball tournament. The fun-spirited tournament included a couple teams representing University of Vermont fraternities. Although the wheelchair basketball tournament was a success, Standen feels that UVM can do a lot more to promote disability awareness. “[UVM] really drops the ball with adaptive or disabled athletics. Many major Universities actually front and support their own wheelchair basketball teams,” Standen said. “The perspective of people with disabilities has been lost or ignored by the broader campus community and events like this help to provide students with that voice.” Glowacki also sees the importance in promoting competitive wheelchair athletics. When asked what he wishes to accomplish with events like these, he responded “[I hope to] introduce competitive wheelchair sports to people as a very interesting and fun sport for everyone, and educate them on the benefits of setting high expectations for people different then yourself.” For more information on the NDAA, visit their Web site at www.disabledathletics.org and for more on Glowacki and the work that he does visit his Web site at www.mattglowacki.com.