Field events help father and son bond Wednesday at the 38th National Veterans Wheelchair Games
By John Groth
Jason Polluck competes in the shot put portion of the field events at the 38th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Orlando, Fla. on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. (Photo by Courtney Cooper)
For Jason Pollock, the 38th National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) provided not only a chance to bond with fellow veterans but also with his young son.
On Wednesday morning, the 46-year-old Army veteran competed in the shot put, javelin and discus throws with his son, 8-year-old Colvin, watching in the grassy area near a parking lot of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
It was an unusual place for a field competition, but it didn’t have any effect on the pair.
“I like seeing how well he does and how far he can push his limits,” Colvin said after his dad’s throws.
Wednesday marked the second day of competition at the 38th NVWG, co-sponsored by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It opened with air rifle and field events before the slalom, or obstacle course competition, indoor rowing exhibition and table tennis, wheelchair softball, quad rugby and power soccer matches. It also featured Kids Day, with a handful of military veterans helping younger children learn about adaptive sports.
Adaptive sports have helped bring the Pollock father and son duo together.
The Salem, N.Y., residents have become quite a team, especially now that Colvin is older.
Colvin helps his father during field event practices at home. Jason throws the shot put and discus and Colvin helps bring them back.
“And sometimes I bring back rocks,” Colvin said.
Colvin has also joined Jason in cycling. Jason joined up with the PVA handcycling team nearly two years ago and fell in love with the sport. He loves that it’s outdoors, he gets to enjoy nature and that it’s a good workout. He participated in the 10K handcycling event Tuesday morning, finishing second in the Men’s Masters II/III Division in 20 minutes, 35 seconds.
“Handcycling is my favorite cause when I’m at home, I just get out and ride. I leave my house, get on the road and go 20-30 miles whenever, just get out and enjoy the air,” said Jason, who served in the Army from 1991-98 as a combat engineer and was injured after a tree branch fell on him as he was cutting up a log that was on the ground.
Jason and Colvin go on cycling rides together and the younger Pollock has cycled 9 miles before.
“And he says he wants to start bike racing now, since he’s seen Dad doing well and he rides with me,” Jason says.
Added Colvin: “They’re basically the same.”
Jason’s coach, Michele Ferrauilo, and his uncle Gary Bodkin, joined the father and son at the field competition. A Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, N.Y, Ferrauilo has served as Jason’s coach for the past three years. She thought he performed well Wednesday.
“His practicing and what he does all year long definitely shows,” Ferrauilo said. “It pays off for sure.”
This year marks Jason’s third straight NVWG. He competed in 2016 in Salt Lake City and 2017 in Cincinnati. And he keeps coming back because he enjoys seeing his military friends along with meeting new people who are recently injured and helping them out.
“We do have a great time when we’re here,” Jason said.