As athletes march toward gold in the Paralympics, we’ve been entranced by one sport in particular: goalball. It’s a competition designed specifically for those without sight. Players hurl a three-pound rubber ball across the floor to score goals; defenders react based on the ringing of two small bells embedded in the ball’s core.
“I tell people it’s kind of like a mix between reverse volleyball and reverse dodgeball,” says Matt Simpson, one of the best athletes in the sport and member of Team USA. “You have a volley back and forth, but instead of hitting over a net, you’re throwing it on the ground. And then instead of getting out of the way of the ball, you’re getting in front of it,” he explained.
The Pillar had an extensive conversation with Matt about the sport and his career as a parathlete, and it’s worth your time to read the whole thing. Goalball is an amazing game — played by amazing people.
Simpson told the Pillar that for disabled people, “it’s often easy to feel like one deserves less — a lesser family, lesser career, lesser outcome in anything — because you are disabled.
“There’s so many times where it’s very easy to think, ‘Well, that person can see, so they probably know something better than I do,’” he said. “In the realm of driving a car that’s definitely true. But in the realm of life, it’s 100 percent not true, and oftentimes the exact opposite, right? So I think for me that means finding the boldness in Christ and saying, ‘God has put me here to do X, Y, or Z.’ And being willing to allow that I am capable of those things, in spite of the fact that most of the world would look at me and recognize my deficit.”