Lipscomb Lady Bisons In the Community: Blind Soccer
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
By Mark McGee
Lipscomb Lady Bisons In the Community: Blind Soccer

Playing a form of soccer while wearing blindfolds was an eye-opener on many levels for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.

Saturday afternoon the soccer team joined with the Tennessee State University volleyball team to play a variation of soccer at Tennessee School for the Blind. Players were blind folded to give them a sense of what it would be like to play a sport without being able to see.

The program was sponsored by the Tennessee Association for Blind Athletes.

Three players were stationed across the out of bounds line at each end of the court with each side taking turns on rolling a large ball equipped with a bell-like device past the other team.

Katie Wood, a junior shifting this season from defense to forward, was one of the first participants in the series of games.

“We thought we were going to be playing soccer with a ball that beeped,” Wood said. “This was kind of like dodge ball except you were trying to get the ball through to score.

“It was definitely different. I had never seen this sport before. It’s great. Every person in college needs to see different ways of life. It helps you shift your view of things.”

Wood admitted it was easy to get confused in determining the direction of the ball.

“It could be coming anywhere from five feet away,” Wood said. “It doesn’t sound like it is coming from one specific spot. You have to dive sideways. I got the hang of it after awhile.”

Lady Bisons coach Jon Ireland admitted no one on the team knew what to expect.

“We had no idea what to expect,” Ireland said. “We didn’t know if it was going to be inside or outside. We didn’t know what to bring. Fortunately we were told to bring elbow and knee pads.”

Ireland pointed out that most of us take our sight for granted.

“Your sight affects so many things,” Ireland said. “Watching our players with no vision, watching them just try to stand up is really challenging. They have to get a sense of using their ability to feel.

“It is a huge challenge for them. But you can see how much fun they have. They are excited and passionate about what they do.”

Ireland thought the event was a great team-builder for his players during preseason workouts.

“This got our girls out into the community,” Ireland said. “It is something they can really learn from and realize how fortunate they are. There are a lot of people here who have lost their sight in different ways.

“They can feel sorry for themselves or they can enjoy life. The students here are still living life to the fullest and finding ways to play games. That is what I love about them.”