Thursday, August 12, 2010
Michael Zimanske Golf Tournament
Monday August 16, 2010 Monticello Country Club will host the 4th annual Michael Zimanske Golf Tournament sponsored by Roll With It. This fundraising event is very special to the Zimanske family as is everyone involved with Roll With It. Last years event raised $7100 which goes directly to supporting sports and recreation activities for children and adults with physical disabilities.
When Michael was about nine years old he started loosing his ability to walk because of the rare disease SIOD. During the time he was transitioning into a wheelchair, we started looking into what kind of adaptive sports were available for him. Even though he was loosing the ability to walk, he wasn’t willing to give up his love for competitive sports. The question then became; how can my child, with special needs, play sports now? Through a phone call to the Courage Center we found out about a wheelchair basketball team forming in the south metro called the MN Royals. With them we experienced wheelchair basketball for the first time and a whole new world opened up. Soon after, we met Heidi Schwichtenberg and her family. All of these organizations, including Roll With It, taught us that there is never a reason why a child with special needs can’t participate in sports.
Heidi’s love and commitment to children and adults with disabilities is absolutely amazing. It is consistently displayed in her efforts with Roll With It. Heidi’s basketball ability on the court and Michael’s need for speed in any sport made them instant friends. Heidi invited Michael to promote Roll With It events with her, sparking a unique relationship beyond the court. Sharing a love for basketball and the MN Timberwolves, they even attended some games together because of Heidi’s kindness and generosity. Heidi’s involvement with the Courage Center wheelchair basketball and Michael as a player for the MN Royals wheelchair basketball team, gave them many opportunities to also meet on the court.
If you have never attended a wheelchair basketball game or any adapted sporting event I encourage you to do so. I assure you that once you attend an adaptive game you will never be the same again. These children and adults are incredible, exhibiting not just outstanding athletic abilities, but a sense of pride and commitment that it is unlike anything I have ever seen before. When you give some thought to the challenges they face in everyday life, including recreational activity, it makes you appreciate their abilities even more. It might appear that a wheelchair athlete weaves without effort on the basketball court, until you see their hands bleeding at the end of the game. That’s only one of the many valuable lessons displayed in these types of adapted sports. It promises to alter your perspective as well as the way you view any sporting event after that.
On behalf of Roll With It, the Zimanske family would like to invite you to participate in the 4th annual Michael Zimanske Golf Tournament on Monday August 16, 2010. I promise that any amount of time or money you give to this worthy cause will be put to very, very good use. Make sure to check out the Roll With It website and see the extraordinary things that are happening in adaptive sports.
People such as Heidi and her family along with all the athletes involved with Roll With It have changed my life. They are real hero’s which inspire me to be better and do better just because I know them. The Zimanske family is extremely grateful to Roll With It in honoring Michael’s memory by organizing this golf tournament. It allows his competitive spirit to live among us, challenging more people to Be the Change.