Chris: My Story
I grew up hitting a tennis ball against a wall. I would play for hours just trying to beat my last record. I am a very competitive person and carried on through my adult years learning and loving every time I could play tennis. I never took lessons, I just played with anyone who would play.
In 2000 was the start of the problems I now have with my legs and it meant that I could no longer play sports. I think you could say that I have severe arthritis, having already had two joint replacements. But I also have M.S so all of this has meant that I can never run about again.
When we moved to Nova Scotia, I discovered that there was a place in Halifax where you could have lessons for wheelchair tennis. Marijke Nel ran group lessons. So off I went to the Waegwoltic Club in Halifax. I first hit balls with Pascale who coached me in what to do. I found it extremely difficult to move a wheelchair, which gave me an amazing amount of respect for people who live their lives doing this, and it also filled me with such amazement and excitement at once again being able to hit a tennis ball.
I continued having lessons which moved to the Sobey’s Atlantic Tennis Centre and learnt with determination how to move that chair! I managed to advance enough to enter the Nova Scotia Open where I placed second in the doubles. I continue each week to meet with Steve Dunn (our wheelchair tennis coach) and Susie Oxner who puts us through our paces. We have a lot of fun!
I wanted to share my story with you because it is so important to me to let you all know that wheelchair tennis can be for everyone! You do not have to only have a permanent disability. If you have any difficulty in running, through a diagnosis, arthritis, or simply age and can no longer play the sport that you love. You have a choice. You can choose to stay watching the sport that you used to love, or you can come out and try wheelchair tennis for yourself. And just like me, once again you can be filled with excitement and love of a sport that you had to sadly give up on.
Steve - Wheelchair Coach