Meaghan Hargrave enjoys game that uses touch and hearing senses
In many sports, spectators cheer loud when a team scores a goal.
However, this is not the case in the game of goalball where spectators are asked to be quiet, so the players can hear the ball.
Goalball players are visually impaired, making this a game of hearing and feeling.
Meaghan Hargrave, 12, gets enjoyment from playing goalball. She has been visually impaired almost her entire life from glaucoma.
“I’m pretty much a normal kid except I can’t see,” Hargrave said. “School is hard sometimes, but I get through it with support from my parents and other people around me.”
All players wear eyeshades, so that everyone on the court has equal vision, because some players have more sight than others.
Each team has six players on a team, and three on the court at a time. The players try to determine which way the ball is heading from the bells in it. They start in a crouched position, and then slide to the side of the court that they think the ball is heading.
There are three penalties that can be given during the game: having possession of the ball for more than 10 seconds, touching the eyeshades, and throwing the ball over the highball line.
“You have to guard the whole court, nine metres long, by yourself and the two other teammates on the court with you have to step off to the side and wait until the shot is taken,” Hargrave said. describing what happens if a penalty is called.
Cathie Hossack has been coaching goalball for two years, and finds that the players get a lot out of the game.
“The children get a sense of team, a sense of being able to do a sport that is all their own, they are on an even playing field and no one has any advantage over the next person,” Hossack said. “It is what you want to develop in your skills, and they have a tremendous amount of fun.”
Hossack has seen a lot of change and improvement in the children and youth that she coaches within just a year.
“Usually for me the overall atmosphere for this is fun. I like seeing the kids try to do stuff. If they need little whispers I’m okay with that, running to stop a shot that is hard for a little guy, that is all fun for me,” Hossack said.
One day, Hargrave hopes to be able to play goalball in the summer Paralympics, and on the junior Alberta women’s team.
Watch a short demonstration of how the game of Goalball is played: