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Role Models – Practicing Empathy with the Courage League Sports

Role Models – Practicing Empathy with the Courage League Sports
Posted on Friday, March 2, 2018 by Eric Beaver
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People use the phrase “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” but do they actually put thought into practice?  Empathy is an important part of running a client services business – in order to succeed, you have to be in tune with how your clients see their experience or are choosing to approach and solve certain business issues (especially the ones they’ve asked you to help with!)

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to lose the ability to walk? Much of our experience in society is built around walking – climbing stairs, walking to the grocery store, walking up the driveway to our homes, stepping into a vehicle.  Walking makes moving around the world a lot easier.

Some members of our community don’t actually walk that mile– they roll. 

With this spirit of empathy in mind, several members of the Businessolver team put thought into practice last Saturday, February 24th  and played in Courage League Sports’ 3 on 3 wheelchair basketball tournament.  

While no one picked up any NBA offers, everyone did have a great time navigating the court, passing, dribbling, and shooting on 6-foot hoops. Although it was fun, learning just how difficult it is to use your arms to move forward and back, catch the ball, dribble it (SUPER hard for those who have never tried), and in, general, relearn how to do some basic things was sobering.  There may have been a few times people were on a fast break, shot a layup, and forgot that they needed to use their hands to hit the brakes.  Needless to say, there are a few more scuff marks on the walls behind the hoops now…

The experience we had for a few hours is a daily life experience for many people in our community.  Courage League Sports (CLS) is a non-profit adaptive sports and recreational experience for adults and children who aren’t able to go full speed due to a physical, cognitive or emotional disability.  CLS provides hundreds of adults and thousands of children in the greater Des Moines area an opportunity to play at their own speed — pportunities that traditional sporting equipment and team groups have significant difficulty providing. 

The 3 on 3 tournament is Courage League’s signature event with over 50 teams participating over two days.  The funds raised from this event provide families with scholarships to participate in CLS programming and helps CLS continue to invest in innovative new programs like Ninja Training and Karaoke Spin Class. Courage League provides a large variety of opportunities to both children and adults to be active and participate in team sports to build connections with their peers wise.  Moving beyond just the physical impact upon participants, Courage League helps build community. 

Personally, I’m humbled by this experience –  it reminded me to stop and appreciate the way others experience the world. Being aware and grateful each day can help us all become more empathetic people, which can help us in our personal lives but, also, our professional careers.