Saturday, September 06, 2008

My games begin

We watched some Olympics, you bet - who could resist the compelling story and amiable showmanship of Usain Bolt, a fast guy making a little Caribbean country bust-its-buttons-proud?

But my games - the Paralympics - started yesterday. This is Dave Durepos, and I walk past his big old poster about once a day at the Aliant (telephone & internet services) booth in the mall near my office. (Dave is one of the Atlantic Canadian Paralympians sponsored by Aliant.) Before Dave Durepos went to Beijing to compete on Canada's Men's Wheelchair Basketball team, I probably walked past Dave Durepos onced a week or so in the same neighbourhood. He lives with his wife, Sabrina Pettinicchi, who just happens to be on Canada's Women's Wheelchair Basketball team, in nearby Charters Settlement. I've never actually met or spoken to Dave Durepos, but Husband knows him slightly.

This Olympic year, Dave and Sabrina are my guys, and the Paralympics are my games. And of course, the absolute gutting shame of it all is that as far as I can determine, except for whatever scant media is given the opening ceremonies in news broadcasts, not a second of Paralympic sport will be broadcast on any US or Canadian broadcast network this year. (There are apparently some deals for cable specialty sports channels.) A Google search turns up a cached CBC schedule of Paralympic broadcasts - opening ceremonies and such - but the page now seems to have vanished. Paralympians are all well and good to insert into your inspiring advertising montages of athletes training - but nobody actually wants to watch them compete. There's no cash in it, as both US and Canadian networks discovered a few years ago when they covered some Paralympic events in prime time.

Happily, I discovered by accident that the Official International Paralympic Committee Website includes a link to streaming web video of Paralympic athletes and events. Right now it's rough, and it's spotty, but between this and the web I'm hoping to follow Dave and Sabrina's teams as they take the hopes of all of us from little old Fredericton who belong to the fraternity and sorority of disability, all the way to Beijing.




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