Opening Day in professional baseball provides a new opportunity for players, coaches, and fans. This year was no exception, especially for 18-year-old, Dynami Seehorn. He has been covering high school games for years, but last week he covered the biggest game of his life.
In order to graduate high school, Seehorn was required to research a career interest with a mentor from that field. Seehorn decided to write about his passion. However, he faced more difficult challenges than other students.
Seehorn has severe spasticity related to his disability. He moves by a motorized wheelchair and speaks with difficulty. Attached to the wheelchair is a tablet computer, which is controlled by two pads placed to both sides of his head. These pads allow him to communicate and write sports articles.
While conducting research for his article, Seehorn came into contact with KOMO sports reporter, Eric Johnson. Johnson contacted the Monroe Monitor, a local online newspaper in Monroe, Washington to do a television story about Seehorn going to the Seattle Mariners Opening Day and meet some of the press. The Mariners agreed to host Dynami.
“I love sports because it sometimes take me away on what’s going on my life,” he said. “I lost my mom two and a half years ago. Every time I watch a Mariners or Seahawks game I always think about her.” Seehorn went to Opening Day and not only did his story get him the A+, but made the front cover of the Monroe Monitor last week.
Hazing comes in all different forms. Pledges in fraternities are sometimes forced to drink large consumptions of alcohol or wear little clothing around a college campus during the week. When former San Diego Padres outfielder Jeff Francoeur joined the roster of the minor league El Paso Chihuahuas minor league baseball team last month, his teammates and coaches pretended that Chihuahuas pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf.
While the team finds this prank to be hilarious and CBS Sports used the word “amazing”, the principle behind this joke is not funny at all. “He’s overcome a lot,” Francoeur says of his teammate. “Being a deaf baseball player is very tough in this game, and seeing the way he’s done it and handled himself has been awesome.”
Francoeur had a successful major league career with a Golden Glove Award in 2007 and making the cover of Sports Illustrated, so why he is being called an idiot? Many deaf individuals aren’t fortunate enough to work with people who make the effort to learn about the experiences they go through on a daily basis. To say Francoeur was being kind to his teammate is horrible.
This is not just occurring in baseball. Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman now has a Super Bowl ring, but he still has to deal with condescending questions from reporters about how he overcomes his deafness. Being deaf or any other disability is not an obstacle. It shouldn’t be used for humor and taken more seriously in the locker room and from the press.
The 2014 Cornell men’s and women’s hockey team seasons have both come to end, but Lynah Rink at Cornell University hosted a hockey game last week where the “goal” was to get more than the win.
The Franziska Racker Centers of Ithaca, NY held the first ever “Racker Rivals Big Red” exhibition hockey game. The game featured current and former Cornell men and women players, former NFL players, Mike Richter and Joe Nieuwendyk, and local community players to raise funds for individuals with disabilities.
“Our goal was to put on an event that would raise disability awareness combined with having local members of the community and former players involved with a fun promotion, “ said Perri LoPinto, who is the Director of Community Relations at the Racker Centers. According to the Ithaca Journal, this past Tuesday PR director, Heather Hughes announced approximately $62,500 was raised at the game from ticket sales, local businesses offering sponsorships to players, and a silent auction to raffle off signed hockey memorabilia. Hughes also told me that honorary player and Cornell hockey alum, Topher Scott played an “instrumental” role by acquiring Richter and Nieuwendyk to participate in the game.
Richer and Nieuwendyk may have been the player celebrities of the night, but recognition was given to everyone who supported the event including Mayor Svante Myrick, former collegiate four-time NCAA wrestling champion, Kyle Dake and the Ithaca Mites Team played a small scrimmage during the 2nd intermission.
For the future, Hughes says nothing official is planed, but the Racker Centers are thrilled of the success and funds raised during the game and working hard to plan an event during the summer.
For more information about the Racker Centers and upcoming events, click the following link. http://www.rackercenters.org/index.cfm/page/contact.htm
Last month, the eleventh edition of The State of the News Media was released by the Pew Research Center’s Journalism project. In their overview, one of the topics the report mentions digital-only news organizations. Some of these companies account for “approximately 3,000 jobs and one area of investment is global coverage.”
Vice Media, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed all have oversea bureaus and plan to expand more on a global scale. Vice has become the independent media outlet for Gonzo Journalism, which is when the reporter puts him/her in the actual story. Their magazine covers a diversity of topics from corrupt governments in foreign countries such as the Ukraine to raunchy subjects like major drug lords in Hispanic nations and specific blogs for college students and young adults.
The company also has it’s own HBO series that takes place in multiple international countries. They have over 35 bureaus around the world and are looking to expand in cities like Mumbai, Mexico City, Berlin and Tokyo. The increase of independent media comes at interesting time because of the decrease of mainstream media. According to the report, “The amount of airtime network evening newscasts devoted to overseas reporting in 2013 was less than half of what it was in the late 1980s.”
While employment rises in international countries, foreign reporters working for U.S. newspapers have declined almost 25% from 2003 to 2010. I believe it’s great to see new forms news media catch on an international level, but newspapers and other mainstream outlets still produce persuasive content that independent outlets can’t.
During the 2012 Paralympics, South Africa’s team won 23 medals, which is more than any other country that competed. It has not been an easy road however for the South Africans due to equal funding and resources according to Isaac Shadung, the president of the Sports Association (SA) for the Physically Disabled.
Shadung was interviewed at the national championships for the disabled in Stellenbosch earlier this week. He believes the Sports Confederation and the Olympic Committee (SASCOC) did not speak about the importance of disabled athletes.
“We are crying out to Sascoc and companies to get more involved so that our athletes can get the exposure and support we need. We proved ourselves in London, where our Paralympic athletes got 23 more medals than the Olympians.”
The SA said if more funding was provided and sponsors were elected on board, the amount of resources would increase and would establish more competitions. Teboho Mokgalagadi has cerebral palsy and is one of South Africa’s most successful disabled athletes. He has won medals in the 100m and 200m in the previous Paralympics. However, Mokgalagadi doesn’t have a sponsor compared to his abled-bodied colleagues, expect his employer, the Free State provincial government.
“I work in the Department of Sport in the Free State and we have our own high-performance center, which is owned by the state. So they let me use that facility and other recreational facilities that they own.” The SA also said it’s more expensive for athletes with disabilities than able-bodied athletes because of required equipment and facilities.
If you drive all the way down North Aurora Street in Ithaca, NY you will find a small red brick building right near the intersection of East Court Street. It has a parking lot that is not certified by the Americans Disabled Act (ADA) and can fit the amount of cars for the employees. The Finger Lakes Independence Center (FLIC)of Tompkins County has been around for over 90 years and has supported individuals and families in the Ithaca community.
I have worked with the United Way before in Hilo, Hawaii, but this center is special because of the employees who work here have a disability. “When I first came here, I knew the center helped out people in the community, but I was shocked that a lot of the workers here had either a physical or mental disability. Emily Papperman is a peer counselor at the FLIC. She was diagnosed with Spastic cerebral palsy at a very young age. It is the most common type of overall cerebral palsy, occurring in 90% of all cases according to the Society of Cerebral Palsy.
Papperman gets around in a virtual electric power wheelchair, which is one of the accomadations the FLIC offers. “I’ve used equipment from our loan closet like a reacher because when you are in a wheelchair, its difficult to bend over and pick something off the floor, said Papperman.” The FLIC offers various services such as walkers, crutches, group therapy, and special social events for members.
“Some of our clients don’t really get out much, so we put on these events because it allows them to get out of the house and socialize.” Ann Collins is an administrative assistant at the FLIC and is in charge of developing events including an upcoming job fair. Collins and her team at the center encourage their clients to reach out to different companies and for the majority, they’re successful. “Ithaca College and Cornell are both very popular for our clients to work for. A lot of them work in the dining halls which allows them to make money and hopefully make them productive.”
The FLIC plays a huge factor for the disability community in Ithaca. Unfortunately, the center does not receive a lot of funding, so services and accommodations are limited. For the future, the center is planning on having fundraiser events this spring to raise money and awareness in the Ithaca community. The employees hope the entire community will eventually become more informed about people with disabilities and make an effort to support this organization.
You can look up the upcoming events provided by the FLIC by to the following link: http://www.fliconline.org/events.html
As the 2014 Major League Baseball season began on Saturday, the Philadelphia Phillies have already found themselves in an early pickle. Phillies second basemen
was taken to the hospital Friday morning with an IV pumping antibiotics into his body.
Team doctors diagnosed the 24 year old with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureues (MRSA), which is a bacterium that can cause infections and is resistant to many antibiotics.
Galvis already had an abscess removed from his knee on Wednesday right after he caught the infection. He remains in the hospital and will not be on the Phillies opening day roster when Philly opens the season against the Texas Rangers on March 31st. “All I know is that it’s very serious, and we’re just going to make sure that we take care of him. I could care less about the baseball stuff right now,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Right now, I want to make sure the infection gets out of his body.”
MRSA is not new to professional sports. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers experienced a MRSA outbreak in their locker room last season. Guard Carl Nicks underwent surgery to remove the infection and only played in two games last season.
The Phillies are currently facing a number of injuries. Philadelphia third basemen Maikel Franco was not active during Friday’s spring training game against the Red Sox, coaches sent him home with the flu. Galvis is a defensive gem for the Phillies because he can multiple infield and outfield positions. “Yeah, it’s a blow,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “We just hope Freddy is OK.”