Posted this to my blog a minute ago, and thought it appropriate to share here as well. Autism and team sports? Yes, it's possible! Read on. :)
What an awesome weekend! The VFBV State Championships are a series of events run over the Labour Day long weekend every March (second Monday in March here). I had 5 events to run, which were the Ladder Race, Hose, Hydrant, Pumper and Ladder, 2 Man Marshall, Hose and Reel 8s, and the Hose and Ladder 5s.
My only event on the Saturday was the ladder race, which is basically a 25 yard sprint to the ladder, then 20 feet straight up. I started well, but had a slip on the way up, which put me behind in the first heat. Here's a photo from the local paper. :)
Sunday was the busy day. First was the pumper and ladder event. We scored a clean run, but it wasn't enough for a place. My role was to couple my hose to one of the pump outlets on the truck, then climb the ladder and hit the second target. The next event for me was the 2 man marshall, which is a dry (i.e. no water) event that requires speed, skill and precision in laying out hoses in a specific sequence. We had a good clean run, but again, not enough for a place. The final event for the day was the hose and reel 8s. This consists of running down the track with a habd drawn hose reel, laying out one hose, hitting the target, then coupling on a second hose and hitting the target a second time. In this event, I had to push on a side arm on the reel, helping to give it an initial push away, then adding some speed down the track. Once past the hydrant, I had to leave the reel and assist the first branch (with the nozzle) get his hose over the line to hit the target. Had a great run, but unfortunately, something went wrong elsewhere, which messed up our run.
On Monday, I had my final run for the competition. This was the hose and ladder 5s, which again used the hand drawn hose reel. This event involves running down the track with the hose reel, with the aim of sending someone up the ladder (me!) to hit the target at the top. In this event, I had to take the coupling off the reel, then the branch, couple them together and place them in the harness I was wearing to carry the hose. From there it was a sprint of over 100 metres to the ladder, climb the ladder and hit the target. I had a good run, except when I went to get the coupling, the rubber band holding it on wouldn't break! It took 3 attempts to break it (any other time, they break when you don't want them to!). Knowing I was a bit behind, I gave it everything down the track and made up the lost time. Unfortunately, one of the others had some problems down below, which affected our time. It was one of those things.
Anyway, that was my weekend. In between, I was helping out with preparations for the guys, and taking videos of the events I wasn't in. It's been 20 years since I was last involved, and I am glad to be back. Bring on 2012! :)