18 November 2019
author: Timotej Skledar
What is SHOWDOWN?
As I started training Showdown this year, I decided to write something about this sport and its history on the blog as well.
What is Showdown? Showdown is a tabletop sport for the blind and visually impaired, but it can also be played by sighted people as all competitors have tinted glasses. The game requires a showdown table, tinted glasses, two rackets, a protective glove, and a small ball with marbles (so its position can be heard).
The beginnings of showdown
The beginnings of showdown date back to 1977, when a young, totally blind Canadian named Patrick York wanted to invent a tabletop recreational game or sport for the blind that they could play on their own without the help of the sighted. He worked with Lewis to help set the rules, and Patrick was in charge of designing and producing the showdown table. After years of work and planning, the first game of showdown was played in 1980. Showdown had great success as a recreational sport at a presentation at the Olympics for the Disabled in the Netherlands. It was quickly adopted by blind and visually impaired athletes, thus developing early as a sport for the blind. As a result, competitions began to be organized, including at a continental and world level. Due to the growing popularity and number of competitors, they also took place at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics.
The Slovenians first learned about showdown in 1996 at the Atlanta Paralympics. The sport was brought to Slovenia by the then goalball team coach Anton Marton. The first three tables were made in 1998, followed by 11 in 2000. The only producer of showdown tables in Slovenia is the Woodworking High School in Škofja Loka. In 2001, the blind and visually impaired began playing at IRIS, an institution in Škofja Loka, and at all associations across Slovenia. At that moment, the first competitions also appeared and school championships took place in schools and within associations. In 2003, the associations formed a league under the wings of the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired. At the end of the league, the first national championship took place, which included the best individual players. In 2005, the Federation of Sports for Disabled People of Slovenia selected Gregor Habjan as the national team coach, who, as a teacher of sports education, took up the job seriously. The first professional trainings began and showdown in Slovenia greatly progressed. The work has paid off, and our competitors are currently among the best in the world.
The showdown table measures 366 inches in length and 122 cm in width. In the middle, there is a Plexiglas board which separates the players and prevents them from hitting each other directly in the body. There is also a 30-centimeter semicircular goal on each side of the table.
The rules of showdown are simple; the game is played on two sets of up to 11 points in a 2 point difference. In the championships, the semi-finals and finals are played on 3 sets. The competitor gets 2 points for every goal and 1 point if the opponent makes a mistake. The mistakes are: Playing with the body, defending in the goal, hitting the ball outside the table and hitting the board in the middle of the table.
After a few months of playing this sport, I can say that when I play I relax, have fun, and thus forget about my everyday problems. Because I see the positive effects of movement, sportsmanship and fun, I warmly recommend it to all blind and partially sighted people who like to be active and involved in society.
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