Reed De'Aeth, 16
- Interviewed Winter 2019
Q: Tell me a bit about what you’ve been doing.
A: I am currently a high school student at Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School in Sherwood Park. I love staying physically active in all sports and am focusing on my development in wheelchair basketball. I have recently just returned from the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer where my team won Gold!
Q: What drives you?
A: All my supporters help me to keep working hard to achieve new things. I love the adrenaline rush of competing and playing against new people.
Q: Could you tell me about what you do to push yourself?
A: I push hard in games and practices so that I can improve my game, but also to help my teammates play their best. My teammates are my mentors and my friendly competitors who drive me to perform to my best ability.
Q: What kind of activities do you do?
A: I am very involved with my wheelchair basketball, but also play ball hockey and many other sports and recreational activities socially and in phys ed. class.
Q: What sports did you play as a child, and how did they go
A: I played many different sports like baseball, ice hockey, snowboarding, wrestling, volleyball, ball hockey and sledge hockey. I liked playing all of them and was able to adapt to each sport quickly. I particularly liked playing as a goaltender in ball hockey and ice hockey.
Q: Do you have anything you would like to say to parents?
A: Parents play a huge part in getting their kids active at an early age. If they don't encourage them to try new things and get involved, their journey in sports and recreation will fall short. Not every sport has to be competitive, but don't be afraid to look into the programs and activities available to you in your area and get involved at whatever level you feel comfortable.
Q: Did you play any adaptive sports in your youth?
A: Yes, I played sledge hockey for years and really enjoyed that. I also attended a few Para Snowboarding competitions and tried out Para Nordic Skiing. I discovered wheelchair basketball by attending a Paralympic search held in Calgary, where I met my future coach Darrell who invited me out to a practice. I never stopped going. These searches don't mean that you have to be a Paralympic athlete right now, but it was a great way to get introduced to new sports.
Q: Were there any particularly hard times?
A: I have been very fortunate to have a lot of support and mentor-ship through my sports and recreational activities that have really made my experiences positive. I believe that being active in sports has also helped me in my overall life experiences.
Q: Are they any particularly good times?
A: I have had many good times, but winning Gold at the Canada Winter Games has been a highlight so far!
Q: Do you doubt yourself now?
A: I never doubt my ability to perform an activity, but I have doubted myself at times about certain aspects of a sport. I think it's natural for all people, with or without disabilities to have doubts, but this just makes me work harder to overcome them and be better.
Q: How have support networks helped you through this?
A: My parents, coaches and teammates have all encouraged me to keep trying at everything I do.
Q: Do you think you are able as anyone else to do what you want? Are you content with what you have been able to achieve so far?
A: I think if you push yourself hard enough you have the ability to do whatever you want. Some people might have to find an adaptive way of doing something, but you can do most anything. I am happy with what I have achieved so far and it makes me want to maintain self goals and strive for greater things.
Q: Is there anything you want to say to the kids who might be reading this?
A: Don't let anything get in your way. If you want to do something and there is a roadblock in your way, find a way around it. If you are afraid to join something on your own, ask a friend to come along. Many adaptive sports organizations are open to able bodied athletes as well. Being involved in sports has helped me to gain new friendships that I didn't have before.