ADVOCATE - Don’t ever tell MacKenzie Field he can’t do something.
The 18-year-old, Grade 11 student at Advocate District School recently competed in the shot put for his school in the Cumberland district NSSAF track and field championships in Oxford.
Field is like other athletes his age in that he loves sports, where he differs is in the fact he’s visually impaired and needs two hearing aids. Despite these challenges, Field loves to compete.
“All my friends were doing it and some of my teachers said I should try it,” said Field. “I started to go to practice and went to tryouts for regionals. It was a lot of fun.”
Field practiced with his Advocate teammates doing pushups and sit-ups and warmed up by jogging on a modified track near the school. He also learned the techniques involved in throwing the shot put including the stance and the throw.
On the day of the district meet at the Northumberland facility in Oxford, Field went into the shot put ring early with coach Katie Spicer and using his cane measured out the diameter of the circle, felt for the location of the toe board and how much room he had to throw the shot.
When the competition began he listened closely to the official and used his voice as a guide in preparing to throw.
“He would go out to where I was to throw the shot and ask me if I could hear his voice,” Field said. “That’s how I knew what direction to throw.”
While he didn’t qualify for this weekend’s Northumberland regional meet in Oxford, Field is already preparing for next year’s even when he will be a senior.
“I thought about doing the discus too, but it’s a little harder. I’m definitely going to do the shotput again,” he said. “I’m going to train pretty hard.”
Field said he loves the thrill and intensity of sports as well as the action of competing and he doesn’t really see himself as being unable to do something because of his physical limitations.
“When I was starting out I sort of thought how I’m going to do this, but I don’t let that get in my way,” said Field, who hopes to study technology at the Nova Scotia Community College in Truro when he graduates next year. “I love it that much.”
Track coach Pat Spice said Field is proof that everyone can have an active healthy lifestyle.
“He does all the training everyone else has to do and he knew the odds were against him going into this. Still, learned the basic calisthenics involved because before he couldn’t do a simple pushup,” she said. “He managed to get from not being able to do any to doing 15 in a row.”
While he didn’t qualify for the regional meet, he has continued to practice with the team because of the improvement it has made to his physical fitness.