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Happiness Comes In Small, Poignant Moments of Accomplishment

February 4, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


It has been another rough week for me with all the usual accessibility challenges and ongoing efforts to get the staff of our paratransit service to understand the seriousness of the consequences some of their actions or inactions bring to their customers with disabilities. It culminated this morning in a knock-down-drag-out incident in which I was inappropriately and unnecessarily late to work! Often, life just seems like one constant struggle with only a very few small bright spots.


I am thus quite happy to report that the work week is ending on a very positive, upbeat note. Today we all participated in a “tailgate” party to celebrate the upcoming Superbowl football game on Sunday, February 6. Hambergers and hot dogs were grilled and other lunch items were provided. The bright spot was the Ping Pong Tournament. I learned and participated in this game right alongside my sighted coworkers, with slightly modified circumstances and rules. One of my colleagues acted as my partner during each game, guiding my hand to the ball as it moved. I also successfully served the ball a couple of times in the first game and five times in the second. The game was also “handicapped” such that I earned two points for each successful turn rather than just one. Despite these changes, I felt completely included in all the action. In my first game, I defeated one of my coworkers with a score of 22 to 18, advancing to a top ten spot for a second round! In that round, another coworker defeated me 29 to 24. Playing this game was so exciting on several levels. I felt included. This was important, since I am missing out on many excellent opportunities here at work due to my constant struggles with technology inaccessibility. I felt a sense of accomplishment, especially when I realized I was able to successfully and independently serve the ball on a consistent basis! Overall, this has represented a fun event that has served to increase my confidence and hope in the future.

Before today, I had never played Ping Pong in my entire life. I tried doing something new and accomplished it with success. Try something new and post a comment on what happens!

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