On January 18, Bill Edwards from the Vision Resource Service Outreach Program at W. Ross Macdonald, visited Ridgewood Public School (RPS) to teach Grade 4 and 5 students about the sport, Goalball.
Goalball is a sport for athletes with visual impairments. The goal of the game is to throw the ball using a bowling motion into the opponent’s net while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies. All players wear blackout goggles and the ball has noise bells which help orientate the players. Goalball is the only Olympic sport that doesn’t require vision.
“Throughout the month of January, students celebrated World Braille Day by engaging in various activities using vision goggles that simulate varying degrees of vision loss. Students participated in scanning, tracing, reading, and writing activities using the goggles. They also had the opportunity to navigate through the school environment using the vision goggles and a white cane,” explained Vision Itinerant Teacher, Tanya Bain. “Participating in the game of Goalball provides the students exposure to what their peers with vision loss may be experiencing when they are participating in physical activities in the gym.”
“At first I felt worried because we were blindfolded. After I played, I felt happy because I got a goal. I liked that there was only one ball in the game and there weren’t a thousand balls flying around. That is scary for me because I have low vision. I liked that the ball made noise because I could hear it coming,” said RPS student, Mia.
“I liked that Goalball was for everybody, not just for people who can see. In most sports, you have five or six people on your side of the court, and in Goalball you only have three and I liked that. In Goalball it is all about listening and not about seeing. I liked how the ball had a bell in it and you could listen to where it was going. I learned that sports can be played by all people. People who can’t see very well can play fun sports too,” said RPS student, Aiden.
“Goalball was harder than I thought it would be because you couldn’t tell where the ball was going. Being blindfolded was scary because I couldn’t tell where I was. The rope on the floor and the bell in the ball did help me. When you have vision loss, you have to pay more attention to your surroundings. It was really fun playing Goalball and I want to do it again,” said RPS student, Ivy.
Visit the Goalball page on the Paralympic website for more information.