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VISIONS Newsletter
Sports and leisure through the eyes of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.


Talent Showcase
7 PM Saturday, October 20, 2007
Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church
3319 W. Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh

SportsVision is looking for talented individuals to participate in our upcoming Talent Showcase. Can you juggle, sing, dance, or play a musical instrument? Do you have a knack for reading poetry, performing martial arts, telling great jokes, or doing magic? The possibilities are endless.

We want to showcase the talents of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s blind and visually impaired community. Both individual and group acts are welcome so long as the prominent performer is blind or visually impaired. Each act will be given 3-5 minutes for the performance based on the number of acts.

To register for the SportsVision Talent Showcase, contact our office by Friday, October 12, 2007. For questions or to register, give Sue Lichtenfels a call at 412-429-1996 or send off an email to Let the rehearsals begin!

SportsVision Seeks Your Feedback

SportsVision is committed to serving the social and recreational needs of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s youth with visual impairments. To that end, we are collecting as much feedback from these families as a way to gage what types of programs would be of interest to and beneficial for the most participants. Over the last few weeks we have been distributing a survey designed to gather a wide range of input. Our goal is to hear back from as many families as possible.

If you have a child with a visual impairment and you have not already completed a survey, we encourage you to please do so. If you are a teacher or agency professional and can assist us with distributing this survey to more families, we ask for your help in getting the survey into their hands. You can request a copy of the survey by calling 412-429-1996 or e-mailing

All surveys should be returned to SportsVision by Saturday, November 3, 2007. Please mail completed surveys to SportsVision, P.O. Box 23053, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. If you have any questions or need further clarification about the survey, please don’t hesitate to contact Sue Lichtenfels at 412-429-1996. Thank you for assisting in this important project.


Blind golfer Sheila Drummond hears the shot of her career Reprinted from The Morning Call of August 21, 2007

LEHIGHTON, Pa. (AP) - Sheila Drummond didn't need to see her hole-in-one. She heard it.

Drummond, blinded by diabetes 26 years ago, experienced the highlight of her golfing career Sunday, recording an ace on the 144-yard, par-3 fourth hole at Mahoning Valley Country Club.

Playing with her husband and coach, Keith, and two friends in a steady rain, the 53-year-old Drummond hit a driver on the hole. The shot cleared a water hazard, flew between traps and landed on the green, where it hit the flagstick before dropping into the hole.

"They were saying, 'It's a great shot,' and then I heard it hit the pin," Drummond said. "For a hole-in-one, you have to hit it onto the green, so it's a
little bit of skill and a lot of luck."

In 1999, Golf Digest said the odds of an amateur getting a hole-in-one are 1 in 12,750. That number, no doubt rises, for a blind golfer.

Drummond is a member of the board of directors of the United States Blind Golfers Association, and the organization believes she is the first totally blind female to record a hole-in-one.

"We've looked everywhere, and haven't been able to find anyone else," she said.

Drummond took up golf about 15 years ago, and three years later qualified as the first female member of the USGBA.

"I just try to do the best I can," said Drummond, who carries a 48 handicap with the USGBA. "I get nervous.”

"But I wasn't nervous (Sunday); I just don't like playing in the rain."


Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts

For nearly a century young boys and girls have participated in Boy scouts and Girl Scouts. The scouting programs focus on character building and leadership development through a variety of service projects and fun activities. Scouts work to achieve badges in order to move on to the next leadership level. They learn and experience educational and recreational activities. Scouts enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, boating, archery, obstacle courses, gardening, crafts, and much more.

Scouting groups meet once or twice each month in nearly every community across the country. Young school-age people of all abilities are welcomed. Often when a child who is blind joins, he or she is partnered with a buddy scout for many activities. Other times the fellow scouts are blindfolded to equal the playing field and raise their awareness.

Both the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Handbooks and guide books for each leadership level are available in audio versions through the National Library Service. Select Braille and large type versions are also available. Our local Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will loan these books when requested at 800-242-0586 or

To learn more about the scouting group in your area, contact one of the below organizations.

Girl Scouts - Trillium Council Greater Pittsburgh Council B.S.A.
606 Liberty Avenue 1275 Bedford Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412-594-2534 412-471-2927


Audio Dart Tournament
SportsVision’s Audio Dart Group will hold a one-day tournament on Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 9 AM. The tournament will be held at the Three Rivers Center for Independent Living, located at 900 Rebecca Avenue in Wilkinsburg. The event is a substitute for the fall tournament that was to take place in Wilmington, Delaware. The mini tournament will include three events: a singles, doubles, and triples event. The entry fee is $25 with potential prize money of
$300. To participate in this event or for questions, contact SportsVision at 412-429-1996.

Blind Golf Championships
The United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA) will hold its 62nd annual National Championship near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The two-round event will take place September 25-26, 2007 at the Edgemont Country Club. On Monday the 24th, the USBGA will host a clinic for youth who are blind or visually impaired from 9AM – 1PM. For additional information, contact Tournament Coordinator, Sheila Drummond at 570-386-5414 or e-mail


Power Showdown: Table Tennis for the Blind

Showdown, or Power Showdown, as it is called in the United States is one of the few sports originally designed for the blind; and not revised from a mainstream sport. It was designed in the 1960’s by Joe Lewis, a Canadian who is blind who wanted to find a recreational activity that people who were blind could do without sighted assistance. With slight modifications to the rules and equipment, Patrick York, another Canadian who is blind, has helped Showdown evolve into a world-wide sport. It is a table top game that is a cross between air hockey and ping pong. Players use wooden paddles to bat a ball toward their opponent’s goal pocket. The showdown ball is slightly larger than a ping pong ball with bee bees inside so that it is a constant sound source as it rolls across the table’s surface. Since players are blindfolded, it is a definite challenge to ear-hand coordination.

The showdown table is uniquely designed. It measures 12 feet by 4 feet and is surrounded by a 6 inch wall. While the wall helps to keep the ball on the table, its curved corners also play prominently into the strategy of the game. Across the width of the table is a center screen that sits about 4 inches off the table. The screen often serves as protection from shots that have gone airborne. The object is to keep the ball on the table so that it passes below the screen to the opponent’s side of the table.

During a game, each player serves five times in a row. Players score points in several ways. Two points are awarded when the ball goes into the opponent's goal pocket. When the ball bounces off the table or hits the center screen the other person wins one point. A point is also given away when the ball touches a players hand or arm. The first player who reaches 11 points and is leading by at least two points wins. The complete rules are available through the International Blind Sports Association at

According to the IBSA web site, Showdown is being played in countries throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America. After the success of Showdown at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics, representatives from more than thirty countries contacted the International Blind sports Association Showdown Subcommittee. They wanted information about equipment, blueprints, and rules so they can play this game in their country. Currently, the IBSA Showdown Sub-committee is encouraging regional and national Showdown Tournaments in an effort to have international championships which, hopefully, will lead to sanctioning by the Paralympics.

Within the U.S., the Power Showdown cause has been taken up by Dr. Jim Mastro. He is a former Paralympian and current physical educator at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. He has found a U.S. manufacturer for the tables and equipment. Since the tables are fairly costly at $2,800, Mastro is promoting the tables to agencies and schools that serve the blind. He is planning to organize the first U.S. Power Showdown Championships in 2008. For more information on acquiring a table, contact Dr. Jim Mastro via e-mail at

** About US **

     SportsVision develops opportunities for individuals who are visually impaired to participate in competitive sports and life-long leisure activities. Our vision is a community where people who are visually impaired have the freedom to pursue and enjoy the many benefits of sports and leisure opportunities. SportsVision is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. All contributions are tax deductible.

     “VISIONS” is available in various accessible formats including e-mail, large type, and audio cassette. If you wish to change the format you receive or make address changes, contact our office at 412-429-1996. Article submissions and content suggestions are always welcome at P.O. Box 23053, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or




PO Box 13202 | Pittsburgh, PA 15243
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