Competing In Power Football Takes More Than Athletic Ability

By Victor Schwartzman
January 16, 2015

Shayne De Wildt is 23. Why am I writing about Shayne? He’s my downstairs neighbour and I know him. I feed his cat, Simba, when Shayne is away at competitions. Simba frightens my dog, a Shitzhu who gives Simba a wide berth, but that is another story.

Shayne is an athlete who lives in North Vancouver, B.C., goes to Capilano University and intently practices his sport: soccer (it’s called football in most of the world). Being an athlete has become a major focus of his life since he got a power wheelchair in high school, and was able to play. You can see him in a clip Rick Mercer did featuring Shayne’s former team, the North Shore Eagles. The clip is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6mhz3Bb74M, or go to You Tube and type in “Rick Mercer soccer.” You can see Shayne at 3:52. Check the clip out now if you want, it’s funny, I can wait. Go on, you know you’re curious!!

The North Shore Eagles no longer exists, so Shayne now practices and plays in Richmond. It’s a long drive, up to an hour each way, but he loves playing and competing. Currently he’s gearing up to play in a series of public competitions. These are crucial because from the competitions players will be chosen for Canada’s 2016 World Cup team. First, he needs to be at each competition. Second, of course, he needs to do well.

Shayne is not worried about doing well. He’s working as hard as he can, and has proven his abilities. After that, you play your best and see what happens. Right now Shayne is worried not so much about playing as he is about the first part: physically getting to the competitions. For all Canadian athletes, getting there is always a major hurdle.

Shayne has played on national-level teams and was an ambassador on the 2011 World Cup National Team when it went to France. “We played Brazil in the last tournament, with a shootout win,” Shayne says proudly. He returned to Vancouver with a medal.

In the first half of 2015, there are four upcoming public competitions he must play in: two locally in Richmond and Penticton, then out of Province to Montreal’s Defi Sportif in May, followed a month or two later by a last competition in Kelowna. He needs about $4,000 and has already raised $2,000. The other $2,000 is where YOU come in.

You knew this was coming. Don’t stop reading now. Remember your New Year’s Resolutions! Dr. Who will not help here, nor will Mike Hammer nor Iron Man. The solution is up to you and your ability to go to Facebook and “like” Shayne De Wildt’s page. That would be a start and then you would not feel so ashamed.

Shayne and an aide will fly to and from Montreal and stay there five days. That’s $150 per night plus food and local transportation. Shayne will play on one of two B.C. teams in the competition. The team does not have a name because it could not afford one. As noted, Canadian athletes are not rolling in money (if rolling in money was a world class football event Canadians would indeed struggle.)

Shayne pays an annual fee of $90, which covers insurance and other items. The team’s work is done by volunteers, so administration is covered. Right now Shayne is fundraising, as are the other athletes. He is going to workshops about fundraising and is active on Facebook and Twitter. He is also, of course, actively looking for work. His skills include research and working with people.

“The experience, the social component, the competition, all that has benefitted me. I thoroughly enjoy the game, and thrive on competing.”

Shayne was born in South Africa and moved to Canada with his family in 1997. He loves Canada and what it has to offer. To contact Shayne because after reading this article you know you know you want to do something special today, type Shayne De Wildt into Facebook, “like” his page and message him.

Next: Back to Bad Jokes!

Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly column to Accessibility News. Buy the first nine chapters of his current satirical fantasy novel, King Of The Planet, for .99 on Kindle at http://www.amazon.ca/King-The-Planet-Victor-Schwartzman-ebook/dp/B00NE0CCRC or read the earlier drafts and current chapters for free, on the King Of The Planet Facebook page. It has a “4 out of 5 star” review already!

His graphic novel The Winnipeg Weakly Herald (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, http://www.redfez.net. He also contributes to http://www.targetaudiencemagazine.com. He has had poetry and short fiction published, has edited novels and hosts two writers’ circles. His email is vschwartzman@gmail.com.