Friday, December 23 2005
The movie we watched on DVD this evening was Murderball, a documentary about Quadraplegic Wheelchair Rugby. I'd always assumed that qudraplegics were sad cases like Christopher Reeves, confined to beds and electric wheelchairs, able to move themselves about only by manipulating a joystick with their tongues. But I was wrong, evidently the term "qudraplegic" can refer to any level of paralysis that affects all four limbs. Quadraplegics each have a certain numeric score depending on how well he can control his limbs, with the larger numbers indicating the lowest level of handicap. In Quad Rugby teams, the sum of these numbers for all the players is capped, meaning that the team has to be filled out with a range of levels of ability. Of course, in world-class Quad Rugby, every individual on the team must be a world-class athelete within his ability rating. Maybe the legs are functionless and the arms don't have any feeling below the elbows, but you can bet the torso and upper arms will be bulging with muscles.
The movie focused on two characters: Mark Zupan, who was paralyzed by his best friend in a drunk driving accident, and Joe Soares, who was so angry about being rejected from the US Olympic team (due to his advancing age) that he became the coach for the Canadian one. We're let in on the lives of these guys, starting with Soares' oppressive (though maturing) relationship with his adoring nerdy viola-playing son. Then we meet Mark Zupan's hot girlfriend and also that best friend who launched him head-first into a canal in that crippling drunk driving accident.
It wasn't a great movie, and I would have preferred a little more depth to some of the reportage. For example, okay Zupan, so you can have sex, and the hot ladies love the things you do. But what does it feel like for you?
A documentary like this one, where the story arc takes us towards an inevitable show down, always makes me wonder if the filmmakers actually made excellent guesses early in the filming in terms of whom they decided to interview and what teams they covered. In Mad Hot Ballroom, for example, the filmmakers either spent a lot of money filming a lot of kids only to throw most of that film away or else they got really lucky. With Murderball, well, I won't ruin it for you.
Temperatures today rose into the low 40s and I was able to collect solar heat for the slab, which briefly rose above 57 degrees Fahrenheit late this morning.
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