One of the things that haunted me the most was: WHO’S GOING TO LOOK AT ME, I’ll never have a girlfriend again...
The day arrived when I would begin to shape the rest of my life, at the Institut Guttmann. This first day is horrible, but a member of the team walks by, and seeing me dejected, he gives me a boost by telling me that in the end I’ll overcome this and I’ll laugh again. As the days go by, I start to think that maybe he’s right.
It’s hard work, everything is a massive effort. All that strength that I had had before disappeared and I am still wearing that huge, annoying corset. What I like most about the week’s work are the sports sessions. I don’t have the best chair, like all rookies, but I have a great time. There’s archery, swimming, athletics, handbike, handball and many more sports that I thought were off limits for people in a wheelchair and that I am realising I can do. But there is one in particular that stands out above the rest: basketball.
They discharge me and tell me that Guttmann’s basketball team, Barça, wants to try me out to sign me. Me? If that team is at the top… I go to Can Dragó, and it may sound very cheesy but when I go in I see a girl at reception who turns my head. So much so that even the friend I’m with tells me that he’s noticed. But the usual thing came back into my head: “who’s going to want to go out with me?” The try-out goes well and although they want to sign me, for various reasons I end up in the ranks of Catalonia’s second-best team, which in those days was Juventud de Badalona. I’m good at basketball and find it very fulfilling. But I still have time to practise another sport as an amateur: athletics (javelin throw, discus and weights). I became champion of Catalonia and Spain in my first year, and I still was three years later, until somebody recommend that I give it up. You can’t imagine who... Do you remember that girl who made me go gaga when I saw her? We went out for coffee just as friends, I assure you. But in the end we hit it off, became friends and then started to become much more. The Barça wheelchair basketball coach asked me to sign up and I didn’t think twice. So she told me that I had to quit athletics, and I didn’t think twice about that either. I was coming home! To Barça and, above all, to Guttmann!
I’ve done high-level sports, I’ve travelled all over Spain for six years, and the best thing, I am married to the best person in the world and she has never stopped being my friend. How wrong I was. I wasn’t useless. Not only have I managed to build a normal life, not only have I overcome my disability, but I have exceeded my own expectations. My beautiful daughter is eight years old, and many at Guttmann have known her since she was a baby. They have seen her grow and they have seen me grow.