“The decision of choosing a sport should be determined despite the disability, not because of the disability,” – Jim Donahue, a passionate sailor who happens to have a disability
These words should become a reality in the United States, and Massachusetts is on the right path to lead the way. In fact, last month 30 individuals with visual or mobility impairments enjoyed four hours of a free multi-sport, introductory clinic in track & field, tennis, baseball/softball, basketball, golf, rowing, soccer, archery, bocce and other sports at the 2016 Paralympic Experience. All of the athletes had the opportunity to meet the different adaptive sports providers in Massachusetts.
One of the providers is Piers Park Sailing Center, where Jim Donahue is former vice chair of the board of directors. Donahue recently retired, but his passion for sailing and for teaching this sport is stronger than ever.
“There is nothing more magical than watching a father, son, friend or a wife with tears of joy while they see how the person they love is sailing by themselves, overcoming their disability.”
What pleases Jim the most about this program is that they are adapting sailing to each athlete regardless of the individual’s disability. They have even developed specific systems so more people can feel the empowerment that sailing gives you, and according to Donahue, Piers Park can handle every single disability you can think of.
Jim Donahue is an inspiration to us all, and the most admirable quality is his love for teaching and finding ways in which more athletes who have disabilities can enjoy sailing.
*Photo courtesy of Piers Park Sailing Center’s website.