The very beginning
My goalball journey began at The Maryland School for the Blind in February 2014. I was asked to join the school’s outreach program which held practices twice a week on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Taking part in these practices would help shape the rest of my goalball journey.
I learned the basics of goalball while taking part in the MSB outreach goalball program. This is where I learned how to throw and block the ball. I was also able to gain experience assisting coaches and specialists during Camp Abilities Maryland, a one week blind sports camp, on how to instruct others on the basics of the game.
I was coached by Matt Mescall and Bev Marhevka while at MSB. This is also where I met Tim Utzig. All four of us would work together to form a collegiate goalball program.
Bringing Goalball to Towson University
I attended a one week summer camp hosted by MSB in June 2016. My intake appointment with Towson University’s Office of Accessibility and Disability Services also took place during this week. Coach Matt asked me during a car ride to ask the ADS specialist if it would be possible to bring goalball to TU.
The ADS specialist liked the idea and connected Utzig, my coaches, and I with TU Campus Recreation. We all were put in touch with Jeff Keenan, assistant director for competitive sports. Jeff gave us guidelines on how we could form an official goalball sport club.
We all began working together on promoting the sport, writing a letter of intent, and presenting to the TU Sport Clubs Council. The SCC is the governing body of TU Sport Clubs and they decide on whether to approve or reject a new club application.
The SCC approved our application to form a goalball club. An intramural sports goalball tournament was held on Friday, Nov. 4 as a way to demo the game at TU. The event was a success and we all moved onto hold the newly formed club’s first elections.
I was elected president while Tim was voted in as vice president. Coach Matt became the head coach while Coach Bev, who had taken a new job opportunity in Pennsylvania, guided us remotely.
TU Goalball would go onto to compete in its first-ever competition on Friday, Feb. 17 at MSB where the team recorded its first win over Slippery Rock University with a score of 20-15. TU Goalball would travel to Slippery Rock University, the host of the Third Annual National Collegiate Goalball Championship, and placed fifth at the event.
TU Goalball would go onto compete at home and away events, fundraise, take part in community service, and serve as a place for individuals with and without visual impairments to socialize.
Helping set a Guinness World Record
MSB set the Guinness World Record for the longest goalball match ever played. The game lasted for 25 hours. The event was held between Dec. 17-18, 2018. Tim and I played on opposing teams and served as the two players from the collegiate level. We got a chance to play with elite athletes such as Andy Jenks and Calahan Young.
The next step in the journey
Tim and I played in a local goalball tournament in March 2020 to get an idea of what competition would be like at the next level. The next step in this journey is to improve upon my goalball skills and try to continue playing or staying active with the sport.