Chris's Journal - November 1, 2002

Breaking the border of quebec, racing towards montreal, my mind kept trying to reach into the archives of my memory bank, hoping and pleading that some of the French I learnt in high school would make a miraculous recovery and I would be able to hold a conversation en francais. I remember being force fead my French instruction Mainly ( I also recall faking illness to skip Mr. chamber’s Grade 11 class. Knowing that the cure for my illness that day would be cured Quickly he came to cheer me at that night’s volleyball match. I can still feel my cheeks flushing from embarrassment; my teammates cheering his arrival. I was quickly dragged from the game to discuss the fate of my French studies with he and my parents). Luckily our lack-luster French did not limit us severely- we were well received on the streets of montreal!

The historical Mount royal greeted our arrival in the city and the bus was whipped around the hill towards the mighty st. Lawrence that spilt through the core of the city dividing the city into east-and-west, French-and-English, old-and-new. The alluring city urged us to explore the cobble lanes highways, trendy shops, and witness the cultural diversity of this bilingual beauty. However, All I could think upon our arrival was sitting down, molson-in-hand to watch Les Canadians. This was capital of hockey in Canada and I needed to be a part of that tradition.

I was in rapture with my first glimpse of center ice in the molson center. The collective energy around the rink could fuel a rocket to moons of Jupiter. However, I’m not sure what would have fueled the ship- the beer or the screams from thousands of crazed fans.

The opponents tonight: the Anaheim mighty ducks (a team younger that most of the great grand children of the organizations founding players) who surprisingly gave the home squad a solid three rounds of tough hitting hockey. It felt like watching grandfathers versus grand children, both not yet in their prime, but striving hard to prove their worth. Montreal fans are ardent fans, but tough on their team- by the end of the game cheers turned to muffled boos because of the 2-2 finish in overtime.

Our marathon the next day descended upon us quickly. we dashed from one radio interview to the next in the morning twilight. During the morning media reception, I was overwhelmed and inspired by an incredible gift presented by the hotel to a young woman. For the past year, the hotel has been scrimping and saving to purchase a wheelchair for a woman -France- in the community who has had the courage to come back from an accident that made her a paraplegic, to start here own dance company and to dance again herself. Only three days before france was set to begin her dance studies the life that she new was abruptly ended by a diving accident. However, her desire to dance was not ended, and she quickly Trained to become a dancer once a gain, eventually starting her own dance company.

Moving most those present at her performance to tears, she and her dance partner performed an interpretive piece that displayed the power struggles that a person with a disability deals with In society. France would forcefully bring the “abled” dancer down to the ground challenging the disabled perception by the public that those in a wheelchair are disempowered. The aggression she displayed in this act showed here frustration with society and probably her own internal struggle with the disability. Her partner acted subservient and dependent, lusting after the affection she held. france would sweep him off his feet, dancing across the floor, carrying and protecting him. The wheelchair became an extension of her, one that she showed supreme mastery of, turning her steal chair into a elegant artistic tool.

What would you do if you were disabled, could you find the strength to still give back to society?
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