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Belles vs. Basketball: SOARin' to New Heights

Ok, I’ll admit it: I was always too nervous to sign-up for SOAR when it was a wheelchair basketball day. SOAR is one of my personal Belle philanthropy favorites, and has been since my first year in Belles (it is now my fourth year in Belles). We basically get to have fun with kids who have autism, cognitive impairments or muscular dystrophy as they get their “Saturday workout on” in everything from martial arts to rock climbing. It is honestly the best way to begin a Saturday, as it always adds gratefulness, humility, beauty and so much laughter to my day. But back to wheelchair basketball. Yes, I was nervous when I found out that this particular Saturday, we would be playing wheelchair basketball. What if I just could not roll in a wheelchair, what if I fell off? All of these crazy doubts kept filling my head! Well, someone once said that the only way to conquer your fear is to face it, and so I strapped myself into the wheelchair and tried to push. And boy, was it tough work! The amount of arm work that goes into pushing it would give Popeye a run for his money (you know, the sailor who eats all the spinach). Of course, all of the SOAR kids were such experts, and they graciously offered to teach me how to veer left and right, turn, speed up and slow down in the wheelchair. I was amazed at their skill. Not only that, but they were excellent at shooting the ball into the basket! We got to laugh, joke and race each other in the wheelchairs. One of the kids even showed me his impressive rap memorization skills as he was effortlessly beating me in a wheelchair race across the court. But, on a deeper level, being in that wheelchair for 2 hours gave me at least a little bit better of an understanding of what those who must use a wheelchair each and every single day must go through. I have so much admiration and respect for those people. And this was just another incredible lesson that a Bruin Belles philanthropy event had taught me about life. 

Maryam Nouh
Distinguished Belle
Fourth Year Bruin Belle



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