Once while skiing at Lake Tahoe, I stood there on the top of the mountain and was frightened to death of going down. Suddenly, a couple of skiers raced past me. I wondered how they were able to ski almost simultaneously with one another, as they were almost perfectly synchronized. Then I heard a clear voice command – “One-two-right! One-two-left!” It was only then that I noticed the orange vests, one with ” instructor ” printed on the back and the second with “A blind skier” printed on it! OMG! This graceful young woman was blind and she made it down this top level track without seeing the road! Her way of feeling was built on the simple commands of the coach – ” One-two-right! One-two-left!” What a tough character, what an amazing spirit people with disabilities must have to overcome all the barriers and still DARE!! It was a triumph of the spirit of strength, courage and enthusiasm.
When I first heard about blind fencers, my reaction was much the same as it was that day on the slopes. I found myself wondering, how is this even possible? Isn’t the estimation of distance, the timing, the tracking of your opponent’s little signs of intention vitally important important? Don’t you have to be able to see to make that happen?
If you’re not familiar with fencing for the blind that is happening right now in America, then get ready to be blown away.