Meeting Chris Kluwe, NFLer with HeartOct 28 12:02
I had an amazing opportunity two weeks ago. I was asked to be part of an evening filming for a documentary being made.
The doc is on life after SCI in Minnesota and why we need to fund SCI research (the end goal of the documentary is to get a bill passed where drunk driving fines will go to research. Similar bills have been passed in Mass, NJ and Cali). View the petition for the Bill SF2417
And even though that in itself was really cool, what was even more exciting was that Chris Kluwe, the outspoken Vikings punter, was there. He’s been in the national news lately for supporting gay rights, despite not being gay himself (his brother-in-law is).
There is an ammendent up for vote in MN next week that would make gay marriage illegal. He's vehemently against that. And he wrote a scathing article to a politician from Maryland who tried to tell the owner of the Ravens to not let their players speak out on gay rights. It’s modern day segregation, and he’s right.
But he wasn’t at the filming that night because of that. He was in a wheelchair, and not because he was injured or anything, but because he wanted to spend the day in a wheelchair to see what it was like and to bring attention to spinal cord injuries. He came rolling in with his posse in a manual chair.
The table was already crowded with the three of us real wheelers. It wasn’t easy maneuvering everyone so we could all fit around the table, but Chris refused to stand up to make it easier. “No, I want to really experience it,” he told me.
After he parked across from me, thus began our group’s hour long meal — chit-chatting, trying to pretend there wasn’t a whole film crew filming us as we tried to just “naturally” eat dinner together. It was a trip. I went into journalist mode of course, and asked him a million questions.
I was especially interested in how his wheelchair experience had been going. The first thing he told me he noticed after being in a chair all day – that his butt and legs were numb.
I then complimented him, telling him how very cool it was the he was even doing this. “How many other NFL guys would do this?” I said. “Yeah, but it’s only one day,” he replied. “That’s better than most people,” I said. And he couldn’t disagree.
I do know of a retired NFL player, Ray Crockett, who did something even more hardcore – he spent 30 days in a wheelchair for the TV series “30 Days” (hosted by Morgan Spurlock). Check it out
After dinner, and learning he’s a huge geek, loves D&D, plays Word of Warcraft and only started played the bass in real life because of being really good at the Guitar Hero video game, Chris went off to play quad rugby at the Courage Center, a local rehab center, and then to play bass with the band Treading North, a local band fronted by a C6 quad, Gabe Rodreick (his dad is the one behind the documentary, in fact).
Gah…so cool. I love there are still decent celebs in the world like Chris, people who care enough to get involved in issues that don’t directly influence them, but know if they do, it can help out the cause so much.
The City Pages, a local paper, did a great write-up of Chris’ day-long escapade, including a reference to me as the “bubbly blonde in a wheelchair” (apparently being conversational makes you bubbly). Meh…could be worse. Check it out here: Chris Kluwe Takes a Stand
Follow Chris on Twitter: ChrisWarCraft
Are you a fan of Chris Kluwe? What do you think of celebrities getting involved in the SCI cause? Do you think spending a day in a wheelchair is a good thing?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.