Divine Intervention

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In developing partnerships we must think “outside of the box.” On the first and third Saturdays of each month the Desert Ability Center hosts cycling. This is an opportunity for athletes with a physical disability to cycle with “shadow” riders, literally able-bodied people who can help out if necessary.

At the end of our last ride on Saturday, January 4, I said to Will, one of the athletes, “We still need to find a court in order to start wheelchair basketball.” He told me that he attends a church where they have a small court. I immediately found the church phone number and called.

Usually there aren’t people at this church on Saturdays, but on this particular day there was a group cleaning and one of the congregants, Aaron, answered the office phone. I asked if I could come over to look at the court.  

The court was small but I didn’t want to let this pass us by and told Aaron  that this would do just fine. Aaron said that this would be a great opportunity for the youth who attend the church to learn more about athletes of different abilities. He also said that the church had another branch with a larger court but that he would need to check with others before approval could be given for either of the courts

Aaron told me that he had started a foundation to do work overseas and that his first trip would be to the Philippines. I told him that I lived in Nepal for four years and that it would be great if he could also do a mission there. Coincidentally, he had been thinking about doing some trekking with his daughter in Nepal in order to check out the need for medical services. I told Aaron that I would connect him with friends in Nepal. 

During our conversation Aaron said, “this must be divine intervention” that brought us together.  I also felt this as I have been looking for a basketball court for quite a while.  But what are the odds that he also wants to do some work in Nepal?

On Sunday morning, January 5, my wife Yasuyo and I attended our first church service at Aaron’s church. There we saw another congregant who I had met a few weeks earlier at the Desert Ability Center Ability Festival. That afternoon we attended another church with congregants who had volunteered at the Ability Festival. I had previously met with their pastor, Scott who I really felt wanted to help the Desert Ability Center. There was also a Japanese woman whom my wife Yasuyo wanted to speak with and get to know. There are few Japanese residents in the Coachella Valley, where we live.

A couple of days later I attended the Desert Valley Interfaith Council meeting along with more than twenty people of varying faiths, representing many congregations. One of the pastors told me about a church basketball league.  A feeling  came over me that this was going to be a way to spread more awareness about people of different abilities.

When I think about adaptive sports partnerships and collaboratives I don’t limit myself—I do all I can to think creatively. The number of people worldwide with a disability is staggering and somehow we are all touched by this, especially as we age. The more that we can do to create an inclusive world, the longer we will survive as a people. This is really up to each one of us. But sometimes we need a touch of grace, strong beliefs, a “Divine Intervention”, to really understand and make a difference in this world.  


Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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