Friday, April 22, 2005

I had the highest expectations for Murderball going into this festival and it did not disappoint in the least. Roger points out that it’s many different documentaries in one. What’s amazing is how incredibly it’s all woven together. It’s a sports story. It’s a family story. It’s a friend story. It’s a rivalry story. It’s an overcoming adversity story. Most importantly, it introduces and acclimates you to people you might not normally interact with. The film wastes no time slapping you in the face with your silly expectations about people in wheelchairs. These guys curse, scream, and antagonize like nobodies business. Mark Zupan, one of the athletes in the film, says he hates it that someone won’t hit him when he talks shit to them. “Go on, hit me,” He says. “I’ll hit you back.” This movie is going to be a huge success, and it will no doubt do great things for the sport of quadriplegic rugby. I have a great desire to see one of these matches live now. Anyone interested in learning more about the sport should visit www.quadrugby.com. In the after-movie discussion, Roger suggested that Mark may end up on a box of Wheaties before long. It’s not a joke either. Zupan and Soares and many of those guys should be regarded alongside Michael Jordan, David Beckham, or anybody else. The whole concept of wheelchair rugby challenges our traditional notions of athleticism. It’s one thing to be born with God-given athletic ability, but it’s something entirely more admirable to be given an incredible challenge in life, to overcome it, and then earn that athletic ability. Something like that takes a whole lot more than talent.

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