In today’s society, flexibility is key.
As a journalist, it’s about being able to fulfill multiple roles such as commentary, writing, reporting, interviewing and so on.
As a soccer player, it’s about being able to play multiple positions when called upon, even if it’s a position you’re not comfortable with.
As an event manager, you need to ensure your patrons have access to your events, even if they are impaired in some way.
Take for example, the Australian Open. A worldwide event that attracts fans from all across the globe. Different types of fans flock to Melbourne Park every year to watch the best players in the world.
However, for some, getting to Melbourne Park and then watching stars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and many more isn’t as seamless as it may seem.
Physical impairments, in the past, have restricted some fans’ ability to watch world class tennis live. To say it’s a shame puts it lightly, it’s downright unfair. Fans should be able to watch tennis live and enjoy it just like everyone else.
That’s why Tennis Australia acted, as well as Wheelchair Tennis champion and Australian Dylan Alcott. Alcott is the men’s wheelchair first seed and is a modern-day Australian tennis icon.
He is the co-founder of a company called Get Skilled Access which, in accordance with Tennis Australia, has made access to all grounds at Melbourne Park 10 times easier.
All stadiums have lifts that can easily take people up to their seats. All showcourts now have certain entrances that have ramps instead of stairs and designated seats for those with disabilities.
Even getting around Melbourne Park has been made easier with more signs directing those in need to where they specifically need to go.
Now, those with physical impairments can enjoy the tennis just as much as everyone else, which is fantastic and a great reward for effort by TA and especially Alcott.
In saying that, sometimes it’s not a physical impairment that limits the enjoyment of sporting fans.
Deafness and blindness affect millions of people worldwide and as unfair as physical impairments are, being able to listen and/or see is just as unjust.
The ability to hear and to ability to see are things in life we often take for granted. For some, they dream of the ability to one day, be able to see or hear. But now, measures are being taken to ensure that they can still enjoy sport, like everyone else.
As another example, there have been videos making the rounds recently of groups of two people at soccer venues with someone who is unable to see. Between these two people is a mini soccer pitch, most likely made from cardboard. Using the blind person’s hands, they place them at points on the mini soccer pitch and tell them who has the ball and what’s happening.
Combined with the atmosphere of the stadium and its fans, it allows for the blind men and women to still enjoy the game and the memorable moments to its fullest extent. It’s a beautiful thing to see, especially when these videos are taken during important moments of important matches (e.g. Champions League).
It’s more than just great to see these people being able to enjoy sport, but it’s just plain awesome to see people committing themselves to helping those in need. It’s not just a credit to them, it’s life affirming for anyone else.
In conclusion, anyone who is anyone should be able to enjoy sporting events the way anyone else could. Inclusion is the most important thing about sports. Ensuring that everyone is involved, and everyone is treated equally in this respect is critical. It’s all a part of why sport is so loved worldwide. It brings people together but most importantly, it brings the best out of people, on and off the field.