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Murderball

Documentary exploring the sport of wheelchair rugby and the fierce rivalry between the American and Canadian teams before and during the Athens games of 2004.


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Transcript


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This programme contains very strong language.

0:00:030:00:09

MOTOR STARTS

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I've been out in clubs, I've been out all over the place and people will come up to me, shake my hand

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and say "It's good to see you out."

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And I look at them like, "Good to see me out?"

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"Am I supposed to be in a closet?"

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What I can do that probably people don't think I can do is, I can cook and I can drive.

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I may not be a great cook, might not be a great driver, but I can do both.

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People say the dumbest things. I'll be loading groceries into my car, "Do you need help in your car?"

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It's like, I wouldn't come to the store if I couldn't get back in my car.

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I've gone up to people, talking shit and they go, "Oh..."

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I go "What, you're not going to hit a kid in a chair? Fucking hit me, I'll hit you back."

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Quadriplegic rugby was developed in Canada and the original name was murderball.

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What we do is take these wheelchairs and make 'em into a gladiator, a battling machine,

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a Mad Max chair that can knock the living daylights out of each other.

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Most people that play wheelchair rugby have broken their necks.

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So we have rods, plates, screws inside.

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The biggest misconception is that quadriplegics can't move their arms.

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I'm like "No, I have impairment in all four limbs."

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The higher you break your neck, the less mobility you have.

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So we're given point values ranging from half a point

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to three and a half points, based on what you can move.

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You can't exceed eight points on the court at one time.

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I'm a two, because I have some hand function and full arm function.

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My hands don't close, they only open, so, like spatulas for pancakes, for flipping' people off.

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When I was 16, I was in a car accident, car hit a tree

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and made the car flip and the roof came down on my head.

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And I became an incomplete C6 quadriplegic.

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I was out on the back porch and he picked a fight with me

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and he picked me up and threw me off the deck and he punched me and it snapped my spinal cord.

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I've got a few muscles left, but for the most part, my trunk's paralysed to about right here.

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I've got a bicep, my triceps are paralysed, I've got little finger function.

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Hold on, let me move 'em. Did you see? I moved 'em.

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One thing we do to help grip the ball is we add some kind of glue

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so it's sticky and you can pick the ball up and throw it.

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I'm a three and my grip is affected.

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I can't close that.

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Plus I'm missing a muscle in my left shoulder.

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My accident happened in Florida when I was 18.

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My buddy spun out, threw me into a canal. I spent 13½ hours in the canal

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holding on to a branch until somebody found me.

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He has always been what I call a tough kid.

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I know very few people that would ever fuck with Mark.

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Just to see him out on the court with the tattoos up his arm and the goatee, he's intimidating.

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He's one of these players people try to stay away from.

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Jason...

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Where you want to go, down or up?

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-I have backup.

-Where?

0:05:340:05:37

Where? Where? Where?

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-Where do you want to go?

-Shut up.

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You want us to call security?

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My hypothesis on Mark was, he was very much an asshole before he was in the wheelchair, so any attempt

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to try and point to the wheelchair or the accident as the cause of his grumpiness would be an utter hoax.

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We just arrived today from Stockholm and we just saw a lot of people

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in wheelchairs and of course wondered what they're doing.

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THEY PERFORM THE HAKA

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One, two, three!

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USA!

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Rugby! Yeah!

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The United States has dominated the sport of wheelchair rugby for the last ten years.

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I'll be the first one to say, look, I just want to beat the bloody Americans, more than any team.

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We find the United States pretty arrogant,

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-they've been winning this game for a long time.

-That's what we came to fucking do.

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There's been, I believe, 11 international competitions.

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The US has won all of 'em.

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Round 'em up!

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Um... yeah, I can, but Kevin came over here during one of our games

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and we weren't, so you want to kick us out the same way.

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Fuck you, bitch.

0:07:520:07:54

"Joe Soares may be the best quad rugby player in the world."

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"Childhood polio took Joe's ability to walk, but not his drive to excel."

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My Uncle Joe, you go to his house and he has this wall of fame,

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it's not just a small shelf, it's huge.

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Joe's one of the most competitive men I've ever been around. It shows in his sports accomplishment.

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Being around him is like being around Elway - just a great competitor.

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In '96, Joe was the man.

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That gold medal, he was a huge part of that.

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Unfortunately, his speed went down, he became older,

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so he got cut.

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Joe got a little upset, a little angry he didn't make the team, tried to take us to court.

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He pissed and moaned and cried over it and he lost all of his protest.

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Just because things didn't work out for him, he jumped ship and left to go up north.

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And now he's coach of Team Canada.

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Canada!

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Yeah!

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He took the plays with him, took some of our calls with him

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so he'd know when to attack and how to attack.

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USA, learn a new way!

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If Joe was on on fire, I wouldn't piss on him.

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Yeah, yeah!

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Yeah!

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Yeah, baby, yeah!

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Yeah? Any time, big boy.

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He thought I should respect him for just who he was.

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Fuck you, I ain't gonna respect you for who you are.

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You've got to gain respect.

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I'll remove you from my face if you yell in it again.

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If you think you're man enough, OK?

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Go fuck eggs, boy.

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This is ours for the taking, boys!

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This is ours! So tonight, no drinking, go to bed early and get ready for USA in the finals.

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You got that? All right, boys, great job, great job, great job!

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Tomorrow, I don't want to see anyone talking to anyone except your team.

0:10:100:10:14

They're gonna be talking all kinds of trash, Joe's gonna say whatever the hell Joe says, I don't care.

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The only reason Joe went to Canada is to beat the United States

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-and we're gonna kick the shit out of them.

-It's our time!

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We wanted them, we got 'em!

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This is it!

0:10:310:10:33

On the count of three, loud and proud!

0:10:330:10:36

-Loud and proud, 1, 2, 3...

-Yeah!

0:10:360:10:40

USA! USA!

0:10:400:10:41

-USA!

-The objective, basically, is to inbound the ball, we play on a regulation basketball court,

0:10:410:10:49

you go from one end to the other.

0:10:490:10:51

Stop the ball, stop the ball,

0:10:510:10:53

-stop the ball!

-Two wheels have to cross over the line with possession of the ball

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then you get one point.

0:10:590:11:00

The other guys stop you by slamming their chair in to you.

0:11:000:11:05

Help him! Dave, Dave, help him!

0:11:050:11:09

You have to dribble the ball or pass to a team-mate every ten seconds.

0:11:090:11:13

Other than that, it's basically kill the man with the ball.

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Everybody get back. Everybody get back! Get the hell back!

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Get over here! Get over here!

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Everybody over here. Everybody stay here.

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Cheap crap!

0:11:330:11:35

Motherfuckers.

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Blow the whistle, please.

0:11:410:11:43

You've got Declan right there, he's behind you.

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Pick it up! Pressure! Pressure!

0:11:540:11:57

Hit 'em! Hit 'em!

0:12:010:12:03

USA down!

0:12:030:12:05

-Pick this man, that's your job.

-When you're back here, last man standing, stay with him.

0:12:110:12:17

Go, Dave, go, Dave, push, push!

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USA, USA!

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Yeah!

0:12:280:12:29

-Fuck!

-We're gonna do this, guys!

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It's gonna happen right now.

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-1, 2, 3...

-USA!

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Ten seconds.

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-It was really an exciting thing. Congratulations.

-Thank you.

0:13:450:13:49

My pleasure. Great job.

0:13:560:13:58

# Oh, Canada

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# We stand on guard for thee

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# Oh, Canada,

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# We stand on guard for thee. #

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DISCO MUSIC BLARES

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Kiss them medals.

0:14:320:14:34

Hey, buddy, skol!

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We love you! You're the best coach!

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Fuck.

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Andy. Andy, do I need to buy you a beer or something?

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Do I need to buy you a beer?

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If we had lost, I would have been happy for your ass.

0:14:550:14:58

If you had paid your dues in the US, you would have been fucking head coach...

0:14:580:15:03

Paid my dues? I paid my dues for 12 years, buddy.

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You know what, you've got many years to play afterwards. Guess what, bud?

0:15:060:15:11

-That was my last shot, baby.

-How does it feel to betray your country, man?

0:15:110:15:15

58, 59...

0:15:350:15:37

There's a perception that everyone can play this game, but you start with 500 players

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that play in the United States, we whittle down that group and get our best 12 players.

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And the level of play that's gonna be in Athens is far higher than world championships was in 2002.

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You gotta pull in the 12 guys that are gonna have your back in order to win a gold.

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Five minutes. All players!

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Let's do a game called sweat.

0:16:070:16:10

It's five cards up each time.

0:16:100:16:13

Your call, buddy.

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-Out.

-Out.

0:16:160:16:18

-All right, I'm in.

-Bobby!

0:16:180:16:22

-Flip 'em. What you got?

-Full house.

0:16:220:16:24

Explain why you think he's interesting.

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-We respect Joe, hopefully he respects us, that's it.

-I don't.

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-He tried to help us with some fundamentals, tried to help us with some clutch situations.

-Who cares?

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Does that make him a shining star?

0:16:370:16:39

Does that mean you go and coach Canada?

0:16:390:16:41

Professionally, there's nothing wrong with it.

0:16:410:16:44

That's the second stupidest thing I've heard.

0:16:440:16:47

At this camp, I heard Sam say he doesn't like big tits and he'd dump a girl with big tits.

0:16:470:16:52

-Don't lie.

-It's over.

-Don't lie.

0:16:520:16:54

-They get in the way.

-I like athletic girls, that's what I said all along that night.

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You'll never live that one down.

0:16:590:17:01

-I'm OK with my sexuality, I can say I don't like big tits.

-You like shoes though.

-I do like shoes.

0:17:010:17:07

Everybody that gets hurt thinks they're gonna walk again.

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Your mind becomes a bigger disability than physical stuff.

0:17:150:17:19

I had the idea that I would walk again

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so I was just gonna hide and deny the whole thing until it went away.

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I didn't go outside, I even got to the point where I got scared

0:17:260:17:30

to get the newspaper in the morning cos I thought people would look at me in the driveway.

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And that kind of fed itself.

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What's really hard is the first two years.

0:17:420:17:45

Quadriplegics, after they have broken their neck

0:17:450:17:48

and they've got very little function, they can't do anything for themselves.

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They've got someone helping them, someone wiping their ass

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and they work for three to four years trying to get independent.

0:17:560:18:00

It's a mind fuck in the beginning and then either you make it or you don't.

0:18:000:18:05

All his life, as soon as he was able to get on a tricycle, he's been on wheels.

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Bicycles, dirt bikes, quads -

0:18:380:18:42

he loved wheels.

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Now, one of the favourite things in the world to Keith hurt him.

0:18:440:18:50

You got it.

0:18:540:18:56

All right!

0:18:570:18:58

Now come back down.

0:18:580:19:00

When you go down to that gym,

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you realise how much you're broken down,

0:19:050:19:09

you're really almost at an infant's level.

0:19:090:19:14

You get frustrated because you can't even lift your arm up to itch your nose.

0:19:150:19:20

Just shaking hands with somebody, I can't even make a firm grip with my hand to present myself.

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And that type of reality check,

0:19:280:19:30

you just, you can't explain to anybody.

0:19:300:19:33

Yeah, the Velcro's put on too tight.

0:19:500:19:52

Hello, my name's Joe Soares and I have to tell you, brother,

0:20:210:20:24

this is the wall that's about me.

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These are the trophies I've won.

0:20:260:20:28

So we go through all this and we have Texas, Texas, Texas.

0:20:280:20:31

Those are my MVPs. Those are my MVPs.

0:20:310:20:34

I'm doing you, Joe.

0:20:340:20:36

Come on over here, Joe, we're having fun.

0:20:380:20:42

This here is the gold medal from Sweden that we won, Joe.

0:20:440:20:48

We're glad that you can keep it in this room.

0:20:480:20:52

-He's got the Canadian flag put proudly there.

-Raider!

0:20:520:20:55

Raider!

0:20:550:20:57

Hey, did someone invite this guy?

0:20:570:20:59

Did someone invite this guy over here?

0:20:590:21:02

To go from winning gold medals for the US,

0:21:020:21:04

just because he's snubbed at one try-out camp,

0:21:040:21:07

he's gonna turn around and snub his entire country? Because he is Benedict Arnold!

0:21:070:21:13

OK, Benedict Arnold was in a war

0:21:130:21:15

and when he betrayed his country, many people died because of that.

0:21:150:21:20

-OK? This isn't a war.

-It's war to me, baby. Look out, Athens!

0:21:200:21:26

Robert, open this up and let me know if you want it cooked longer.

0:21:290:21:32

OK, open it up now. Get a fork and use that knife.

0:21:320:21:36

Just cut a piece at the corner.

0:21:360:21:38

-What would you say?

-I don't know, cut a little piece off.

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It's your taste, not mine.

0:21:440:21:46

I've no idea what you like.

0:21:460:21:48

I know you like it warm, but...

0:21:480:21:50

I know, but I like it one way, you like it another.

0:21:500:21:53

Cut this for me.

0:21:530:21:54

You cut it. Guess what, I'm busy.

0:21:540:21:57

Put it in here.

0:21:590:22:02

And one, and two, and three.

0:22:020:22:05

# We're Canada rugby We're far from our home

0:22:050:22:08

# When people don't like us They leave us alone

0:22:080:22:12

# We drink to get drunk We're far from our home

0:22:120:22:16

# We're Canada rugby So piss off and die #

0:22:160:22:20

I'll just say one thing, OK?

0:22:220:22:24

Curfew, ten o'clock.

0:22:240:22:26

In a year and a half, we have become

0:22:270:22:32

the strongest family I've ever had, as far as a second family, OK?

0:22:320:22:38

You guys have really made me feel right at home and I absolutely consider you guys my boys.

0:22:380:22:43

You guys are my boys and you'll be my boys for a long time.

0:22:430:22:47

# TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LITTLE STAR

0:22:510:22:53

This is the poster my dad got when he went to the Paralympics in 1996.

0:23:000:23:06

He's right here getting chased by a guy with his ball.

0:23:060:23:11

This is a shirt that my dad ended up giving to me.

0:23:110:23:14

He didn't actually want it any more though, but I don't know why.

0:23:140:23:19

It has the quad rugby team from 1996 on it.

0:23:190:23:23

There's Joe. Right there.

0:23:250:23:27

-There's Dad.

-Dad. There's the dad.

0:23:270:23:31

My dad is one of the best rugby players in the world,

0:23:340:23:38

but it's annoying to dust my dad's trophy wall because you have to get up on a ladder

0:23:380:23:43

and go all the way up to the top and dust up there and dust in and out and around every single trophy.

0:23:430:23:49

Robert's known for two things, getting nothing but As and Bs

0:23:490:23:55

and that his dad's in a wheelchair and plays wheelchair rugby.

0:23:550:23:58

My son's report card, he received an award of merit for his outstanding performance as school safety patrol.

0:23:580:24:06

You get trophies for good work,

0:24:060:24:09

I got this for the Amethyst team high honour roll for conduct, grades and behaviour.

0:24:090:24:15

Hey, hey - you take first.

0:24:150:24:18

Joe never sat and bitched to me

0:24:200:24:23

that "My kid doesn't do this, or doesn't do that",

0:24:230:24:26

but you could hear it in some of the things he'd say.

0:24:260:24:28

"He doesn't play sports and I wish he would"

0:24:280:24:31

and he'd try to get him to try something and it wouldn't stick.

0:24:310:24:34

6th grade year was really hard cos before I got moved into advanced class,

0:24:350:24:40

kids thought I was just a smarty-pants and a know-it-all and all the other stuff.

0:24:400:24:45

Kids get very jealous and want to pick on me and Robert, or just Robert.

0:24:450:24:50

One day I ripped a page out of his book to teach him a lesson.

0:24:500:24:54

And I'll do it again if he acts up again.

0:24:540:24:57

I always told him, if some bully's pickin' on you, if you have no other recourse

0:24:570:25:03

and they're coming after you, go right for the nose.

0:25:030:25:06

I remember I was seven or eight and there was this one kid, he would call me cripple and gimp and everything

0:25:060:25:14

he made me really mad and I made sure I waited for the right opportunity and I was close enough to to him

0:25:140:25:20

and I was sitting on the ground, cos of course I couldn't walk, and I tripped him and he went down.

0:25:200:25:25

And when he did I jumped on him and just beat the living hell out of him

0:25:250:25:30

because my upper body was a lot stronger than his.

0:25:300:25:33

Sink like a rock.

0:25:470:25:48

Mark is definitely what I would classify as a jock.

0:25:510:25:55

That's freezing!

0:25:560:25:57

And I would never have given any thought to hang out with jocks, to be honest.

0:25:570:26:02

When I met her, she was doing an internship at the morgue.

0:26:040:26:07

How many girls do you meet that work at the morgue?

0:26:070:26:10

And that are cool and enjoy it and are cute?

0:26:100:26:14

I actually really miss working at the morgue, I miss the work, I miss the people.

0:26:140:26:21

# Here is the church And here is the steeple

0:26:210:26:24

# We sure are cute For two ugly people...

0:26:240:26:27

First time I saw Mark Zupan was at a friend of ours' funeral.

0:26:280:26:35

He rolled in, introduced himself and I don't think we've had a moment apart, from that night.

0:26:360:26:42

I really think it's curiosity that attracts a lot of girls to quadriplegics

0:26:480:26:53

and I think also, to some extent, it's the mothering instinct.

0:26:530:26:57

# ..doesn't mean we're not smart I don't see what anyone can see In anyone else

0:26:570:27:02

# But you are always trying To keep it real I'm in love with how you feel... #

0:27:040:27:10

I had a girlfriend prior to the injury

0:27:120:27:16

and as I get discharged from here and I get back to my private life,

0:27:160:27:21

how would that affect, will I be able to be sexually active?

0:27:210:27:25

The short answer is yes.

0:27:270:27:29

We have a video to show how to do it,

0:27:290:27:32

as time goes on we're gonna go through a whole programme of what techniques you may need.

0:27:320:27:38

Often, adjustment after spinal cord injury involves a re-evaluation,

0:27:450:27:49

or reordering of priorities in one's life.

0:27:490:27:52

One must work through the issue of, why did this happen to me,

0:27:520:27:55

and make a conscious decision to move forward in life.

0:27:550:27:58

Women are not threatened by the guy that's in a chair.

0:28:020:28:05

They come up, strike up a great casual conversation

0:28:050:28:08

and you're like "Is she seein' the chair or is she seein' me?"

0:28:080:28:11

Everyone says, "What's your approach, how do you work these women?"

0:28:110:28:15

Fuck it, man, The more pitiful I am, the more the women like me.

0:28:150:28:18

The girls who like you, there is one question

0:28:180:28:21

that pops in their head pretty quick.

0:28:210:28:23

But they don't wanna say it, so they say, "Oh, how did you get hurt?"

0:28:230:28:27

-Yeah, I can move 'em.

-It takes 10 or 20 minutes of working that chick

0:28:300:28:34

and then she finally drops the bomb - can you do it?

0:28:340:28:39

No, it's all still very, very good.

0:28:400:28:42

-I think everyone here, ding, ding, ding.

-Why, is there some can get it up but not...?

0:28:420:28:47

It's not a given with every quad. When I first got injured, I was in intensive care

0:28:470:28:54

everyone was curious to how much function I was gonna have when I came out of my coma.

0:28:540:28:59

I was about ready to wake up and the nurses decided to give me a bed bath

0:28:590:29:04

and one nurse got so excited that I got a woody,

0:29:040:29:06

she ran outside and got my mom and showed her my erection.

0:29:060:29:10

Really?

0:29:100:29:12

Physical changes occur immediately after spinal cord injury.

0:29:120:29:16

Before you engage in any sexual activity with a partner,

0:29:160:29:19

it would be helpful to know how your new body works.

0:29:190:29:22

This can most effectively be accomplished by masturbating.

0:29:220:29:26

In rehab, the first thing I learned how to do was jerk off!

0:29:260:29:29

That was the very first thing - I'd rather be able to grab my meat than grab a toothbrush.

0:29:290:29:34

You break your neck and these things may be impaired,

0:29:340:29:38

but, you know, that still works

0:29:380:29:42

and when you're in a chair, you usually like to eat pussy.

0:29:420:29:45

It's humorous at times to watch the process of trying that.

0:29:490:29:52

You might fall over or have to do some modifications to it.

0:29:520:29:56

So does the girl have to be on top?

0:29:560:29:59

A lot of girls like being on top.

0:29:590:30:01

I've got a kind of modified doggy style that I've perfected.

0:30:010:30:04

Since I have less hand grip, I use a towel.

0:30:040:30:07

I wrap a towel or belt around her waist, then I hold it right there,

0:30:070:30:12

and then do my thing, you know.

0:30:120:30:15

'My first full-on sex, after being in a wheelchair,'

0:30:150:30:20

was a very great moment in my life, just knowing that I could still, not just the physical act,

0:30:200:30:25

but you could still go out one night, meet a girl and get lucky.

0:30:250:30:29

Things you don't think are possible any more.

0:30:290:30:32

I try to be constructive, OK?

0:30:350:30:38

You've got to be able to accept it. You can't be sensitive.

0:30:380:30:41

If you do your job, will I yell at you?

0:30:410:30:43

How do you think you guys got to this level?

0:30:430:30:47

That's because when you mess up, you lead someone in.

0:30:470:30:50

Let me ask you something. When you were growing up,

0:30:500:30:53

and your dad told you not to do something, and you did it,

0:30:530:30:57

what did he have to do? He had to ground you. Whichever way.

0:30:570:31:01

Well, guess what. I'm the same way. I've got to do that, OK?

0:31:010:31:05

'My theory on discipline, if you start early and let them know'

0:31:050:31:09

you will back up what you say, then usually, by age five, discipline is already established.

0:31:090:31:14

Please don't do that. Don't do that again.

0:31:140:31:18

Did you hear me? Stop acting up.

0:31:200:31:23

I'm not acting up.

0:31:230:31:25

Robert, go with Mom.

0:31:250:31:26

-No, I want...

-Go with Mom now.

0:31:260:31:29

I want to stay here.

0:31:290:31:31

INAUDIBLE

0:31:310:31:33

If I have to say it again!

0:31:330:31:35

'If you give 'em tough love, they learn the difference from wrong and right. My dad was a police officer.'

0:31:360:31:42

If you bad-mouthed him or did anything at all, there were consequences. He was very hard-nosed

0:31:420:31:48

and he had really huge hands and hit really hard.

0:31:480:31:52

I let him know that it isn't even close,

0:31:520:31:57

what I do to him, what my father did to me.

0:31:570:32:00

Thank you.

0:32:090:32:10

-Robbie won't... Robbie's not gonna want that, is he?

-No, he won't.

0:32:100:32:15

'Rugby at one point took over a lot.'

0:32:490:32:52

Rugby, rugby, rugby...

0:32:520:32:54

They used to be like...

0:32:540:32:57

addicted, it's like an addiction.

0:32:570:33:00

It's like some drug for him.

0:33:000:33:02

When he comes closer to the time when the game is going to go on,

0:33:020:33:08

he gets more edgy, more irritable.

0:33:080:33:12

-I was up this morning at 6.30, I went to bed at...

-I guess we're doing it tomorrow.

-We're doing it tomorrow.

0:33:120:33:17

I thought we could do three threes and a deuce out there...

0:33:170:33:21

'The doctor wants him to take it easy and not get over-stressed.

0:33:210:33:26

'And Joe is continuing to coach'

0:33:260:33:29

and he wants to continue to play.

0:33:290:33:31

No! No! No, he doesn't have the ball!

0:33:310:33:35

Get outta there! Oh!

0:33:400:33:43

On the count of three!

0:33:430:33:46

One, two, three...

0:33:460:33:48

-Do you want 50 or 25?

-50.

-50?

0:34:050:34:09

I was playing college soccer, we went out after a game we won, I had a few too much to drink,

0:35:310:35:37

so I went and passed out in my buddy's pickup truck.

0:35:370:35:39

He crashed and I went flying.

0:35:410:35:44

He was drunk and that was that.

0:35:450:35:48

Knowing Zupan and Igoe as well as I do, this day, ten years later,

0:35:480:35:54

sometimes I feel worse for Igoe than I do for Zupan.

0:35:540:35:57

Why isn't Igoe at our 10-year reunion? There was apprehension on both their parts. This is difficult.

0:35:570:36:03

I believe he feels, if he came here, some part of Igoe's mind would say,

0:36:030:36:08

"Everyone in this reunion will be saying, 'There's Mark and the guy that put him in the wheelchair.'"

0:36:080:36:14

They were two best friends, and after the accident,

0:36:220:36:26

Chris Igoe thought I was gonna beat the shit out of him.

0:36:260:36:31

And I hugged him.

0:36:310:36:33

What else could I do?

0:36:330:36:35

I said, "This was an accident, I know you didn't do this intentionally,

0:36:350:36:41

"so don't worry about it.

0:36:410:36:44

"But you are responsible.

0:36:440:36:46

"And don't forget that either."

0:36:460:36:49

I didn't have a lot of anger, I had a lot of concern.

0:36:500:36:54

I had concern that my son was gonna die and that Chris wasn't going to survive the mental challenge.

0:36:540:37:01

It's gotta be horrendous to live with that every day.

0:37:010:37:05

-Your best friend.

-It has to be horrendous.

0:37:050:37:07

The night of the accident started pretty innocently enough.

0:37:170:37:22

We were doing shots with the girls and just slamming beers senseless.

0:37:220:37:27

Next thing I know, I'm getting woken up by the bouncer.

0:37:270:37:31

Um...you know, I'd driven drunk prior to that.

0:37:310:37:35

You know, everybody pretty much had. It wasn't a big deal at that point.

0:37:350:37:39

I'm just thinking, "I'm gonna get home."

0:37:390:37:42

He had to have got launched all the way over this

0:37:520:37:56

and landed in the canal.

0:37:560:37:58

And I had absolutely no idea that he was in the truck.

0:37:580:38:03

I...

0:38:030:38:05

And I had a long, hard time, you know, accepting that fact

0:38:050:38:09

because it was...it's just so...

0:38:090:38:11

..foreign.

0:38:130:38:15

For me to come back and see this,

0:38:150:38:18

it's...

0:38:180:38:20

I don't know.

0:38:200:38:22

You know, I'm not getting a real emotional reaction, it's just...

0:38:220:38:27

a place that something bad happened.

0:38:270:38:30

There was an accident, you know, it was simply an accident.

0:38:300:38:34

People talk about hitting rock bottom.

0:38:470:38:50

I mean, I...

0:38:500:38:53

Not to sound overly dramatic or anything, but I was definitely...

0:38:560:39:01

acting suicidal, whether I knew that or not.

0:39:010:39:05

They're possibly the two worst personalities for this accident to happen to together.

0:39:070:39:12

You've got Zupan, who's not an emotional person,

0:39:120:39:15

that's gonna say, "Let's get all this out.

0:39:150:39:18

"You feel guilty, I understand your guilt, I can help you."

0:39:180:39:22

You've got Igoe who very much is, "I don't need anyone's help"

0:39:220:39:26

They seem to have the perfect storm of personality quirks

0:39:340:39:39

that may prevent the two of them from ever saying exactly what the other needs to hear

0:39:390:39:45

to make both of them whole to move forward with it.

0:39:450:39:49

I was pretty hard on him.

0:39:520:39:54

I'd have him come get me.

0:39:540:39:56

He had a pager and I just blew up his pager.

0:39:560:40:00

I would just continually call.

0:40:000:40:02

I would project my anger on people that I care about.

0:40:020:40:08

I mean, when you come out of rehab, you have traces of your old self,

0:40:080:40:13

just everywhere - where you used to sit after you'd come home from...

0:40:130:40:17

I don't know, a soccer game, a party, whatever.

0:40:170:40:21

Just seeing soccer shoes or...

0:40:210:40:25

stuff you'd use in able-bodied life in your closet, you have pictures...

0:40:250:40:31

of you playing sports, of your friends.

0:40:310:40:34

You figure out that home isn't necessarily comforting, but it's...

0:40:340:40:40

it gets to you inside.

0:40:400:40:43

Just keep it up, that's all we ask.

0:40:430:40:46

-You must be going somewhere.

-Yeah, home.

0:40:500:40:53

-Good luck.

-Thank you.

0:40:560:40:59

Hey, you're leaving us.

0:40:590:41:01

D'you guys want to write down your contacts?

0:41:010:41:06

We'll definitely be having parties and stuff

0:41:060:41:08

and all you guys are to come down.

0:41:080:41:11

I'll be there, man.

0:41:110:41:13

Oh.

0:41:130:41:15

Is this a therapy joke?

0:41:180:41:21

I didn't pick the card. Melissa did. You can blame it on her.

0:41:210:41:26

-Let me help you.

-I got it.

0:41:280:41:31

-That's a new chair.

-Yeah, looks brand new.

0:42:350:42:37

That new one, I gave to him that first week he was in.

0:42:370:42:43

It's a bit more compact. The one we were looking at had a case and everything...

0:42:430:42:49

It's cold and everything. This place really sucks.

0:42:490:42:53

-What?

-I said it's like...everything in here is nice and all...

0:42:530:42:58

-This is where you're going...

-I'm in a wheelchair.

0:42:580:43:04

This sucks.

0:43:040:43:06

It's like when you came from Robert Wood, it was a new transition, new schedule, give it a few weeks.

0:43:080:43:15

Ssh!

0:43:150:43:16

-Let me just have a moment.

-Yeah, but...

0:43:160:43:20

Preach to me all you want. It won't make any difference.

0:43:200:43:24

Yeah, I'm thankful that I'm here.

0:43:240:43:27

You know, I could have been so much worse off.

0:43:270:43:31

But the fact is, what was once normal will never be the same.

0:43:310:43:36

And that's just settling in right now.

0:43:360:43:39

Are you sure you wanna see this?

0:43:470:43:50

Imagine if you didn't have this on.

0:44:060:44:09

Selection's a hard part.

0:44:330:44:36

We've got a great responsibility going towards Athens.

0:44:360:44:39

We're going there to win gold and I've selected a team that gives us the best opportunity to do that.

0:44:390:44:45

From Tempe, Arizona,

0:44:470:44:50

Andy Cohn. APPLAUSE

0:44:500:44:52

From San Diego, California, Sam Gloor, Cliff Chunn, Lynn Nelson,

0:44:550:45:00

Brent Poppen, Bob Lujano.

0:45:000:45:02

APPLAUSE

0:45:020:45:04

From Phoenix, Arizona, Scott Hogsett.

0:45:050:45:07

From Austin, Texas, Mark Zupan.

0:45:160:45:19

APPLAUSE

0:45:190:45:21

This is the 2004 USA Paralympic rugby team.

0:45:250:45:29

APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

0:45:290:45:32

One, two, three...

0:45:320:45:34

USA RUGBY!

0:45:340:45:37

-Hey, Mark.

-Hi.

-We're trying to learn all their names.

0:45:400:45:44

Hi, how are you?

0:45:440:45:46

Shake his hand.

0:45:460:45:49

-What's your name?

-Melissa.

0:45:490:45:51

Melissa? Nice to meet you.

0:45:510:45:54

Do you like rugby, Melissa? Do you like it?

0:45:550:45:59

Being a little bashful.

0:45:590:46:02

I'm gonna ask you some questions.

0:46:020:46:05

How do you eat pizza with your elbows?

0:46:060:46:09

Well, I just pick it up like this.

0:46:090:46:12

I use this chair to help me, it's my everyday chair.

0:46:140:46:18

I get up like this.

0:46:180:46:20

I'm gonna need a seatbelt, slide in.

0:46:240:46:27

How...how did you...? How did you lose your arms?

0:46:270:46:32

I got sick when I was nine years old and contracted a blood disease.

0:46:320:46:37

But I'm all right. That's all that matters.

0:46:380:46:41

I'm alive and use everything I have to get through life.

0:46:410:46:45

That's what we all have to do - use everything we have.

0:46:450:46:49

I contracted meningococcocemia when I was nine years old.

0:47:130:47:17

It's an early stage of meningitis, a very rare form. It happens overnight,

0:47:170:47:22

like picking up a cold. They couldn't do anything for me.

0:47:220:47:26

They pretty much said I wasn't gonna make it.

0:47:260:47:29

They brought a priest in and gave last rites, so it looked pretty grim.

0:47:290:47:34

Then I just woke up and had no legs.

0:47:340:47:37

I remember being wheeled into the emergency room.

0:47:370:47:40

I looked down and saw my legs and feet and headed to the operating room and knew this wasn't good.

0:47:400:47:47

My father was very much instrumental in helping me deal with everything.

0:47:500:47:55

I remember times, whenever kids would laugh or point, he'd kinda laugh along with them and joke about it.

0:47:550:48:01

Once I saw him lightening the situation,

0:48:010:48:05

you know, it didn't make me feel upset or hurt.

0:48:050:48:10

'I'm a 33-year-old single male in Birmingham.

0:48:120:48:15

I think I'm living, but every single male's supposed to be living.

0:48:150:48:19

I live independently, take care of myself, cook for myself, have a job.

0:48:190:48:25

These are my artificial limbs and I use it primarily just to button up and zip up.

0:48:250:48:31

I also have to use them to drive.

0:48:330:48:35

When I first started out, I drove without them and had an accident.

0:48:350:48:39

The first thing they said was, "Did you have a seatbelt on?" "No." "Did you have your arms on?" "No."

0:48:390:48:45

It's very much humiliating, but yet life still goes on.

0:48:450:48:51

There's a dream that I have where I was flying

0:48:510:48:55

and I've had it a couple of times, very much the same dream,

0:48:550:48:59

where I'm at my grandmother's house, the house where I lost my limbs.

0:48:590:49:04

I was having a dream where I was just flying up into the back yard,

0:49:060:49:10

flying over the roof of the house, flying among the trees.

0:49:100:49:14

I do see myself as having limbs as I was flying.

0:49:220:49:26

It was a very liberating feeling,

0:49:280:49:31

not wanting it to end and wanting to keep it going, you know.

0:49:310:49:36

If he didn't have that exercise, he would be probably gone.

0:49:580:50:02

-My doctor says, "You've the heart of a bull."

-I believe him.

0:50:020:50:06

-Anybody join me in a toast?

-Sure.

0:50:060:50:09

This is the first time we've seen Uncle Joe since his heart attack

0:50:090:50:13

and thank God his heart's pumping strong and he looks great and he's in great health.

0:50:130:50:19

To his future and good health and God bless him.

0:50:190:50:23

ALL: To Uncle Joe.

0:50:230:50:26

'I'll be honest here, I'm living the American Dream.'

0:50:260:50:30

My family moved here to the US at age 11, and if I had stayed in Portugal,

0:50:300:50:36

I probably would not have anywhere near the opportunities in life as I've had living here in the US.

0:50:360:50:43

If you've got a disability in Portugal,

0:50:430:50:46

they become ashamed of having someone, it's a sign of weakness.

0:50:460:50:50

'So it's not that I'm not a proud American,'

0:50:500:50:54

I still believe in my country, I live here, but I have a job to do and it's been a great ride with Team Canada.

0:50:540:51:01

Uncle Joe!

0:51:010:51:02

Uncle Joe!

0:51:020:51:04

-Do a 360.

-OK, a 360 coming up.

0:51:040:51:07

Whooh!

0:51:070:51:09

That's funny!

0:51:090:51:11

After his heart attack,

0:51:140:51:17

it's like he grew, he matures.

0:51:170:51:21

For some reason, he woke up,

0:51:210:51:24

God touched Joe somehow.

0:51:240:51:26

-He did. I do believe that.

-I believe it too.

0:51:260:51:30

And everything changes because the way Joe talks

0:51:300:51:34

is like the new Joe.

0:51:340:51:37

He's smart. Straight A's three years in a row.

0:51:370:51:40

He plays the viola, he's pretty good at it.

0:51:400:51:44

I always knew Joe would grow up to be somebody.

0:51:440:51:46

He had that fortitude about him. He had a great personality.

0:51:460:51:51

He had a lot of drive, unbelievable for a man confined to a wheelchair.

0:51:510:51:56

-I underlined my home phone number. Cell number's on the back.

-You look good.

0:51:560:52:02

Actually, I'm the only person in the world to have all three world championships in wheelchair rugby.

0:52:020:52:09

I don't think God is into competition, but I think God rewards those who help people out.

0:52:090:52:15

The man up there's giving me the strength to be a better coach now than ever

0:52:150:52:20

because I'm hoping he blesses my team.

0:52:200:52:25

Don't let the Americans get in your way, just beat 'em, beat their asses off!

0:52:250:52:30

They deserve a good beating.

0:52:320:52:34

It'll take it, baby.

0:52:350:52:38

This tournament is important for us because it gives us an opportunity to reclaim what we feel is ours,

0:52:510:52:58

which is being the number-one seed going into the Paralympics.

0:52:580:53:01

Are we ready to play here, boys?

0:53:130:53:15

-ALL: Yeah!

-Are we ready?

0:53:150:53:19

-USA!

-Go get 'em!

0:53:190:53:22

Watch Zupan. Watch Zupan.

0:53:320:53:35

Attack, attack, attack!

0:53:350:53:38

Ohhh!

0:53:410:53:43

Canada! Canada! Canada!

0:53:470:53:51

Canada!

0:53:510:53:53

Ref, stop!

0:54:000:54:01

Off, off, off, off! Swarm him! Swarm him!

0:54:010:54:05

Swarm him! Swarm him! WHISTLE BLOWS

0:54:050:54:09

We'll crush! We'll crush, OK?

0:54:300:54:33

-Let's go and get this. One, two, three...

-USA!

0:54:330:54:35

Swarm him! Swarm him! Swarm him!

0:54:470:54:49

USA!

0:55:110:55:13

We got fucking 2½ months to go.

0:55:170:55:19

Right now, this is what we needed to do.

0:55:190:55:22

Ladies and gentlemen, the gold-medal-winning team -

0:55:220:55:25

the United States!

0:55:250:55:28

Is there any way you could take an earlier flight to get to my concert?

0:55:450:55:50

'I'll go as quick as I can. I miss you,

0:55:500:55:54

'and...I love you.'

0:55:540:55:58

We have six students who did all the writing play-offs and all the written play-offs.

0:57:020:57:07

When I call your name, please come down.

0:57:070:57:10

Samuel Fraser...

0:57:100:57:12

Caitlin Grant... Jenny Park... Laura Payne, and Robert Soares.

0:57:120:57:17

Good job. Good job.

0:57:200:57:23

How you doing, bud?

0:57:250:57:28

I'm proud of you. You did a good job.

0:57:280:57:31

I'm gonna play this for you guys, then I'll tell you a little about me

0:58:210:58:26

-and a little about the sport.

-That's cool.

0:58:260:58:29

'Meet the US wheelchair rugby team.

0:58:290:58:32

'Wheelchair rugby, also known as quad rugby, is for athletes who are quadriplegics.

0:58:320:58:36

'If people see you in a wheelchair, they treat you like you're made of glass.

0:58:360:58:42

'Playing wheelchair rugby...'

0:58:420:58:45

-Are you on one of them teams?

-I play for the United States Paralympic rugby team.

0:58:490:58:54

-Do you wear helmets?

-No, ma'am.

0:58:540:58:56

-Why not?

-You don't wanna do it wearing elbow pads, shin pads... That might be just the macho-man thing...

0:58:560:59:03

-Is there a technique to falling?

-Just don't lead with your head! That's pretty much it!

0:59:030:59:09

I've actually done more in a chair than I did able-bodied.

0:59:090:59:14

Don't let this thing limit you from doing anything you want.

0:59:140:59:19

Let's just say that, down the road, we play...

0:59:190:59:22

I have the mentality that I don't want to be in this wheelchair for the rest of my life.

0:59:220:59:27

-Yeah.

-But, say we do start walking,

0:59:270:59:30

do we get kicked off the team right away?

0:59:300:59:34

If you get out the chair and walk away, that might be one of the things you have to give up

0:59:340:59:40

to go and walk away!

0:59:400:59:42

What is that made from? Aluminium.

0:59:420:59:45

You got it put on? Yeah.

0:59:450:59:47

It's custom-made to each person.

0:59:470:59:50

This chair's different to my everyday chair.

0:59:500:59:54

You sure you wanna do this?!

1:00:011:00:03

How does it feel?

1:00:081:00:09

-How does it feel?

-I feel as if I'm on a battering ram!

1:00:101:00:14

-How do you feel in it?

-Unreal. It's a whole different aspect of being in a wheelchair.

1:00:201:00:26

Feel how rugged it is!

1:00:261:00:29

Can run into anything.

1:00:311:00:33

You can't do it! You're in a hospital - you can't do it!

1:00:351:00:39

Can I do it outside?

1:00:391:00:42

You're on hospital grounds. God forbid, something goes wrong, you hurt yourself...

1:00:421:00:47

You're still a little fragile.

1:00:471:00:49

-Can I even tag him?

-No!

1:00:491:00:52

He'll be fine. He's not gonna fall out.

1:00:521:00:55

-I don't wanna ruin your chair.

-You won't ruin it.

1:01:011:01:04

Do people, like, just throw their body at it?

1:01:051:01:09

You're strapped in differently when you're in it.

1:01:091:01:13

OK...

1:01:161:01:17

The Paralympic Games follow just a few weeks after the Olympic Games.

1:01:311:01:35

This year, they're September 17th to the 28th, in Athens,

1:01:351:01:39

using all the same venues, stadiums, everything.

1:01:391:01:43

..competing, and right now, we are too.

1:01:431:01:48

It's an amazing sport to watch, and until you see it live, it's hard to appreciate.

1:01:481:01:53

This is gonna be the hardest training of my life.

1:01:531:01:56

This is just crazy.

1:02:011:02:04

I didn't expect anything like this.

1:02:041:02:07

-Tell me about wheelchair rugby.

-It used to be called Murderball.

1:02:071:02:11

But you can't market Murderball to corporate sponsors!

1:02:111:02:15

We've been hearing about a rivalry between US and Canadian quad rugby teams.

1:02:151:02:21

You guys are really going after each other.

1:02:211:02:23

We have a reputation of always staying on top and always winning gold,

1:02:231:02:29

so we don't wanna be the first team to let our country down and not win.

1:02:291:02:34

-Great! Thanks very much!

-Thank you.

1:02:351:02:39

I came a day early, and spoke at a rehab hospital,

1:02:401:02:43

and there's this young guy that just got hurt... He was told about rugby,

1:02:431:02:48

I brought a rugby chair. We couldn't get him out of it when it was time to leave.

1:02:481:02:53

He was like, "I wanna go and hit stuff!"

1:02:531:02:56

So just to see that - his eyes light up, and being so happy -

1:02:561:03:00

it was so fulfilling.

1:03:001:03:03

NBC-13 has more, with the American Paralympic rugby team.

1:03:031:03:07

The Paralympic team preps for its biggest day in four years.

1:03:071:03:12

The Paralympic Games, in Athens, Greece are a month away.

1:03:121:03:15

Pass! Tighten up on that!

1:03:151:03:18

Watching the Olympic opening ceremony the other day -

1:03:181:03:22

that got my blood going, realising that we're less than 30 days away.

1:03:221:03:27

-Bobby, have you seen Ocean's Eleven?

-Yeah.

1:03:271:03:30

Remember the little Asian guy that gets in that box?

1:03:301:03:34

And they break in the bank, or the casino?

1:03:341:03:38

-We're gonna try that with you.

-You know how funny that would be?!

1:03:381:03:42

Oh, my God, I'm pissing myself.

1:03:421:03:44

-Are they coming now?

-No, call the girls.

1:03:441:03:47

Put it upside-down and put it on top of you.

1:03:501:03:53

Will it work?

1:03:571:04:00

Are you comfortable?

1:04:011:04:03

Hmm...not.

1:04:031:04:05

-Where you going?

-To pee.

-Fuck peeing! Bobby's gonna suffocate!

1:04:051:04:10

-Scott needs a hand.

-Quick! My box fell over, with my bag in it.

1:04:101:04:15

He just needs a hand. I can't pick up the bag.

1:04:151:04:20

Just pick it up quick.

1:04:201:04:22

Shouldn't I put it like this...?

1:04:221:04:25

No, I'd pick it up...

1:04:251:04:27

-then the bag will be...

-Pick it straight up.

-All right.

1:04:271:04:31

That was real fucking funny(!)

1:04:411:04:43

I was at a wedding, and my chick's mom's sister came up, and she goes...

1:04:431:04:48

-IN HIGH VOICE:

-"Hi, Scotty, I'm so-and-so.

1:04:481:04:53

"I hear you're going to the Special Olympics."

1:04:531:04:56

And I went from being the "man" at the wedding to a fucking retard.

1:04:561:05:01

It was the worst feeling.

1:05:011:05:04

Special Olympics happens once a year

1:05:041:05:06

and it's for people who are mentally challenged.

1:05:061:05:09

What they do in the Special Olympics is very honourable.

1:05:091:05:12

It's amazing what they can do, but this is totally different.

1:05:121:05:16

We're not going for a pat-me-on-the-back, "Thank you for participating".

1:05:161:05:21

We're not going for a hug. We're going for a gold medal.

1:05:211:05:25

When we're prepping, we've got to put emphasis on stopping Kirkland,

1:05:361:05:39

stopping Zupan. Jump on him, turn him.

1:05:391:05:42

The adventure begins. We can't just be satisfied with stopping him.

1:05:421:05:46

We've gotta forget the past. We have to forget what happened in Sweden

1:05:491:05:53

and in Vancouver. It's time to go to Athens and take care of business.

1:05:531:05:57

Canada! Number one!

1:08:481:08:51

CANADA!

1:08:531:08:55

You're the best son ever. You're the best son anybody could ever have.

1:12:571:13:01

You make me so proud.

1:13:011:13:03

INAUDIBLE

1:13:081:13:11

I never thought we'd be here.

1:13:111:13:13

# Light and day Is more than you'll say

1:13:131:13:19

# Cos all my feelings

1:13:191:13:24

# Are more than I can let by

1:13:241:13:28

# Or not, more than you've got

1:13:281:13:34

# Just follow the day

1:13:341:13:37

# Follow the day and reach for the sun...

1:13:391:13:43

# Reach for the sun. #

1:14:241:14:27

I got injured 11 years ago, at a lake cabin. I got pushed off the balcony and broke my neck.

1:14:521:14:57

My friend was driving on the freeway when we hit a tree.

1:14:571:15:01

I got thrown out the back of a pick-up truck.

1:15:011:15:05

I spent 14 hours in a canal, hanging on to a branch.

1:15:051:15:08

I contracted a neurological disorder when I was one.

1:15:081:15:11

But it's allowed me to play quad rugby!

1:15:111:15:15

We're gonna divvy you guys up.

1:15:191:15:22

We'll show you some rugby, then those who want to try

1:15:221:15:25

can have a live-speed version of rugby. Anyone that's Air Force, Marines or Navy,

1:15:251:15:31

you'll be with the blue team. The Army are with the red team.

1:15:311:15:34

My job is...hopefully snag the wheel on the way by.

1:15:341:15:38

If I can slow him down for one or two seconds, I've done my job.

1:15:381:15:42

It's full-wheelchair contact. It's a lot of fun. If you like football,

1:15:421:15:45

you'll love wheelchair rugby.

1:15:451:15:48

I guess we're gonna play some... so you guys can actually see the game.

1:15:481:15:52

-I can't throw that far.

-It doesn't matter.

1:15:521:15:55

-None of us could in the beginning.

-You're gonna do an awesome job.

1:15:551:16:00

WHISTLE BLOWS

1:16:021:16:04

USA!

1:16:081:16:09

Ready, set, go!

1:16:251:16:27

Congratulations. May God continue to bless our country.

1:16:371:16:41

Zupan!

1:16:591:17:01

Come on, Joe, bring it in!

1:17:451:17:47

It's coming!

1:17:471:17:49

No, wait!

1:17:531:17:56

Documentary exploring the sport of wheelchair rugby, unofficially known as murderball. Created by quadriplegic athletes and played with bone-breaking intensity, the game is as aggressive as the name suggests. It is an official event at the Paralympics and the film documents the fierce rivalry between the American and Canadian teams before and during the Athens games of 2004.

Filmmakers Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro document this fierce competition as well as the personal stories of the athletes who are passionate, driven and determined to win.


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