Blind World Magazine

A Ball Game for the Blind.

KSL-TV, Utah.
Monday, April 03, 2006

"Let's play!" The object of the game "Goal Ball" is simple, get the ball in the opposing team's goal. Three players to a team on a basketball sized court.

But what makes this game different is all the players are blind.

Tony Jepson: "Blindness has so many limitations to it, if you've never seen anybody throw before, you've never seen anybody run, you don't learn, you can't copy because you've never seen it, there's no pattern."

Tony Jepson is with the Utah Foundation for the blind. He says they have to teach the kids all the simple things we take for granted, like throwing motions.

The players hear the ball, thanks to a small bell in the middle, and react very quickly to their left and right and throw their bodies that way. "It's kinda their own sport and they take a little bit of pride in that and the fact that they get to practice like their buddies at school that can see that play baseball and basketball."

Melanie Manwaring is a "Goal Ball" mom. The players can tell where they are on the court thanks to string under tape on the floor, "It's nice to have a sport where I know my son is taught like the scouts or different group of sighted kid peers at school, it's nice to have a sport where he can actually excel and do better than his sighted friends."

In this sport, you won't hear the usual cheering of the crowd, just the noise of the game. The players, you see, have to be able to hear the ball. "Number one it's a very unique sport and number two the kind of team work that's in it, I know that doesn't seem obvious but there's a lot of team work that's very fun too."

And at least for me, being blessed with 20/20 vision "Goal Ball" seems very difficult, Manwaring's 14-year-old son Kurt puts it in perspective, "Baseball seems extremely difficult for me."

Audio Report

End of article.

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