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Sometimes it’s difficult to understand

My usual line when speaking about understanding Paralympic sport is to make an analogy to cricket. I don’t understand it, so I don’t find it interesting. It doesn’t mean cricket isn’t a great sport.

There are challenges understanding the Winter Paralympics. Some sports are easier. Curlers will understand that there is no redemption after releasing the stone, no one brushing to straighten the shot or make it go farther. Sledge hockey (like wheelchair basketball) can be played by anyone. Few have tried and those who did found out how tough it is and how sore their arms get.

Nordic skiing isn’t that difficult to understand either. Care to go for an easy 15K without poles, or shooting a gun with just one arm? Visually impaired downhill skiing I can get too. It makes those corporate “trust” exercises look rather lame. If you’re going 110kph, you’d better trust the person in front of you calling the turns.

Today was the first time we saw para snowboard and that one is more difficult to understand. I don’t know what it feels like to have a leg prosthesis, let alone slide with one. But the really difficult one is to understand what it’s like to take these turns with partial paralysis. Someone with partial quadriplegia might look really good standing and talking to you at a reception, but how does one deal with G forces without good muscle power?

So as good as the commentators are, it’s a steep curve for them, and for the audience. We’ll keep trying harder to have vignettes and explanation. Because nothing is interesting unless you have a way to understand it.

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