EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – One of the textbook definitions of the word ‘endeavor’ is ‘to aim’, and that’s an idea that caught on with junior athlete Jayelle Beckman.
It’s been 3 years since she first picked up a compound bow and aimed arrow at target.
“It takes practice,” she tells us.
She still uses a stand to keep her prosthetic legs steady, and gives pointers to her little brother when he can stand still long enough to listen.
“How good are you,” we ask him.
“Good,” he giggles.
Their coach, Keith Secora, started archery himself about 10 years ago and kept after it. He adapted his own disabilities to get better. Secora is on the national team now.
Events like the Endeavor Games taught him to get past his physical limitations, and to know that no one struggles in a vacuum.
“You get out here and get to compete with people who are just like you. You’re not different, ” he insists.
Senior athlete Christopher Parks was competitive long before he lost his legs to a bacterial infection in 2014.
He’s played wheelchair basketball with Team Army and Team USA since. Parks risks pinched fingers and skinned callouses but wouldn’t miss the Endeavor Games for the world.
“This is an event like no other,” he insists, “and if you miss it you’re a fool.”
Megan Blunk has scaled the heights as a wheelchair athlete, earning a Gold Medal for basketball at the 2016 Paralympics.
She is still connected to the sport as an ambassador (with The Hartford Insurance Company) because she is still inspired by the will of these athletes to get on the court in the first place.
Giving away the equipment to make that possible is the best perk of her new job.
She says, “changing lives is exactly where I want to be.”
That desire to take the court, to hit a target, to lift just a little more; it doesn’t go away with injury or disability.
Event Coordinator Cassidhe Walker and her team exist at UCO during the games, at every venue, to provide the kind of access these competitors crave.
“We really want to create access to sport for athletes of all kinds,” she states.
For just about everyone here, next year can’t come fast enough.
The 2023 Endeavor Games runs from June 8 through June 11. Nearly 260 athletes compete in 11 sports.
For more information go to endeavorgames.org.
Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center