Content warning - mention of suicide.
Roy is no stranger to sport, so when he saw the opportunity to try Wheelchair Softball, he was there in a spin!. With the help of Softball Australia, we caught up with Roy to hear his heartfelt story, from overcoming his own challenges, to inspiring others, and what was, what is and what might be for Roy's Wheelchair Softball team.
Name: Roy Davie
Tell us a bit about yourself and journey?
I am 40-years-old, married and father of two boys aged eight and four. I work full-time as a Geospatial Programming Analyst for a large Australian utilities company. I am also a C1 incomplete quadriplegic with Brown Sequard Syndrome from a suicide attempt in April, 2009. I spent close to three and a half years after my injury inside my house not wanting to face what had happened to me or wanting to be a part of anything.
That all changed in 2012 after a lengthy time in counselling with Independence Australia helped create a change in my mindset and accepting that my life and future was in my hands. I met my wife and her 2-year-old son in November, 2012, had another son in 2015, built a new family home and went back to university to study a Masters of Applied Science (Geospatial Information Systems).
I have also had the opportunity to be interviewed on Sunrise and Channel 9 News, done two NDIS videos and also a video for the Robert Rose Foundation counselling services through Independence Australia. I have been fortunate to meet very influential and successful people in business, sports, music and entrepreneurship that have taught me that as Carl Gustav Jung says, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
I love to spend time indoors and outdoors with my family and friends, playing sports, watching sports, training in the gym and outdoors and getting as much as I can out of my second chance at living.
How did you get involved in Wheelchair Softball?
I attended the very first come and try day in December 2018 and instantly was hooked. I had played baseball from the age of 13 up until my spinal cord injury in 2009. Baseball has always been a big part of my life and I really missed being able to play a sport that I love.
I saw the new wheelchair softball competition as a way to get back onto the field and even though softball is a little different from baseball, I registered my own team and got a few friends together and have played in both seasons.
Tell us a bit about your Wheelchair Softball team?
I am the captain of the Raptors Wheelchair Softball team. In our first season, we were made up of five players from the VWFL and finished on top of the ladder at the end of the regular season. We made it to the grand final but lost to Julie’s Alpacas.
Season two saw a change in our players and we welcomed three new players who hadn’t played any wheelchair sports before. We finished 5th in the regular season but made it through to the semi-finals after defeating the 4th placed team in the elimination final.
We are all excited for season three and can’t wait to get back out there.
You’re heavily involved in other Wheelchair Sports, how does Wheelchair Softball stack up?
Wheelchair Softball is a pretty fast-moving game, like regular softball is. It isn’t as fast paced, nor does it have the crashes, spills and contact like wheelchair AFL but we play hard, are competitive and have loads of fun. Wheelchair softball is a non-contact sport and it can be trickier to pick up the ball than a football, but this adds to the excitement of the game.
What do you like most about Wheelchair Softball, why should others give it a go?
I like the friends I have made and the environment and atmosphere in which we play. Teams are happy to watch other games and encourage each other to do their best.
I encourage others to get involved in wheelchair softball as it is a fun sport to play with friends, an inclusive group and who doesn't like trying to smash things hard with a bat!
Is it hard to play Wheelchair Softball, can anyone play?
It’s not too hard to play wheelchair softball but definitely harder to swing a bat sitting down. Pushing and manoeuvring a wheelchair does take a little practice, as does fielding and throwing. But it is a very inclusive sport that anyone, regardless of ability can play.
What do you hope for the future of Wheelchair Softball in Australia?
The future of wheelchair softball looks good. With competitions starting in NSW and NT I can see national tournaments being played between states as well as in other regions of Australia. Wheelchair softball is a very big amateur outdoor sport in USA and Japan so ideally, getting out of the stadium and using outdoor areas for ballparks would be awesome. Plus, it could mean opportunities to play in international series both overseas and in Australia. The chance to play sport and travel seems like an amazing experience to me.
If you want to participate in Wheelchair Softball contact Softball Australia Club and Community Development Coordinator, Tim Hatzi on firstname.lastname@example.org or search for an activity near you on AAA Play
In an emergency, call triple-0 immediately. If you or someone you know needs support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Photo credit: barendphotos.com Barend van den Hoek