By Phil Pangrazio
Photo by Loren Worthington
I often get asked, “Why are sports and fitness important?” Others ask, “What was it that drove you to build the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center in Phoenix?” There’s no short answer, but I do have a few thoughts on the subject.-Phil Pangrazio, President & CEO
You see, I always loved sports. From the time I could lift a ball, I was throwing it around my parents’ home. From then on, there was no stopping me. I just loved to play. If there was a ball involved, I did it. Put it through a hoop, hit it, threw it and ran it across a goal line. I loved all sports and played football, basketball and baseball as a teenager.
Now truthfully, for children and young adults, sports can be a bit of an illusion, too. We worship our sports heroes. We want to be like Michael Jordan or LeBron James. We may even aspire to be professional athletes like them. I know I did. But in reality, very few ever achieve this dream. Often sports end for young adults after high school. But it doesn’t have to stop there. We can still enjoy them, and their health and fitness benefits, long into our middle ages and beyond. I know I did!
When I was injured at age 19, I thought my sporting life had ended forever. However, once I discovered quad rugby, that all changed. Unfortunately, I was nearly 31 years old when I started playing rugby. The sport didn’t become popular until the late 1980s. I missed out on my most youthful years of playing rugby. More importantly, it was a time when I most needed the emotional and peer support as I adjusted to life with a disability.
Fortunately, today there are more opportunities than ever before to get involved in adaptive sports and recreation, no matter what your passion. Whether it is basketball, rowing, yoga, swimming or dance, the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center has something for you.
Now you know why I wanted the Center built. In fact, it was built for you. So don’t wait any longer to get involved. Take advantage of it. If you are anything like me, you’ll find that adaptive sports can be life changing and rewarding for years into the future; I played quad rugby until I was nearly 48 years old.
If you haven’t already, visit us at the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center. Get involved in adaptive sports, fitness or recreation. Find your passion and never lose your connection to play. It will greatly contribute to your personal growth and development as well your physical health. It’s a great way to meet new friends and gain experiences that will last a lifetime. Staying young at heart no matter how old you are really does matter. Finally, participating in adaptive sports teaches us many valuable lessons. What better way to learn about teamwork, camaraderie and sportsmanship? We also learn to handle success and disappointment – lessons important to all aspects of life. What could be better than that?