Paddle Up And Down Event Welcomes Wheelchairs to the Court

April 28, 2013
Winnetka, IL

2013-Up-Down-540Don Godshaw, the driving force behind the advent of wheelchair paddle, created the first tournament of its kind this spring. Able-bodied and wheelchair players came together for an evening of new experiences for many, and fun for all. A fundraiser for Adaptive Adventures, an organization that provides outdoor sports opportunities for people with disabilities, the tournament drew a good following.  Godshaw said, “The pictures speak for themselves, we all had a wonderful event. The people ranged from Paul Moran, a five-time Paralympian, to a first-time-ever racquet sports player, and everyone had a great evening. We kept four courts filled for most of the evening. As a result of the players’ generosity, we raised thousands of dollars and created a tremendous amount of awareness for Adaptive Adventures, a charity based in Wilmette. We hope to make this an annual event and hope that you’ll join us next year. The wheelchair participants had a great time and a new experience.”

Godshaw can be seen in the photos in a turquoise jacket with a large grin on his face. He plays in the men's league in the area.

Adaptive-Adventures-Logo-200Event attendee and promoter Sheilah Johnson contributed, “I’m pretty sure it was the first time four wheeled-chair paddlers took to the courts. I heard about the event from the APTA and immediately emailed my brother, Paul, to play. He is a five-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis player and a Hall of Fame wheelchair softball player, who teaches wheeled and able-bodied player tennis in Winnetka. We had talked over the years about paddle, but I did not have the vision to see how compatible it would be! He had already been invited by Joel Berman of Adaptive Adventures, the beneficiary of the benefit. It was AMAZING how well suited it was.

“In Paul's first time on the courts, we played two able-bodied men and lost, 6-1, 6-2. His learning curve was lightning fast, his topspin forehand returns and drives just kept getting better. The two-bounce rule was only used a handful a times. Drop shots at the net were a big surprise, when they were retrieved and returned! I'd imagine with more practice it would extend play out of the corner wires. We were developing strategy on the fly.

“And I got a great workout.”

Congratulations on a superb event!

[The APTA Rules Committee has created a preliminary set of adaptive paddle rules, with Don Godshaw’s guidance.]

2013 Up Down Paddle Event in Winnetka, IL - Slide Show

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