A lot of BORP participants and families already know Ariel Smith-Iyer who has been working at BORP’s Adaptive Cycling Center for the last year. Recently, however, Ariel has taken on a new role at BORP as the Fitness Studio Coordinator. We caught up with Ariel and asked her a few questions about her new job… and a few other random ones, just for fun.
BORP: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Ariel: I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and attended college in Maine for two years before coming to California. One of my sisters was starting graduate school at UCLA and I jumped at the chance to live somewhere new. We packed up a little U-Haul and drove further west than we’d ever been before. It was 1998 and the mix tape we made for the journey was incompatible with the radio-only stereo system, which itself was no match for the vast Arizona desert, where pressing the SEEK button gave you as many tunes as turning the dial to OFF. LA was definitely a culture shock but it blew my world open in so many great ways. My first job in the field of disability work was there, at UCLA’s Office for Students with Disabilities.
BORP: How did you first learn about BORP?
Ariel: I moved to San Francisco in 2004 and took a teaching job at a small independent middle and high school for students with learning disabilities. In my second year there one of my middle school PE students started playing wheelchair basketball with BORP. All her life she had gotten around on crutches but was finding she needed a wheelchair more and more. Playing wheelchair basketball transformed her relationship with her chair and gave her an opportunity to play competitive sports. I knew then I wanted to be a part of this work.
BORP: If you could be any animal, which would you be?
Ariel: Hmm, I’ve always been a big fan of elephants but I’m not sure their time on this planet is long. I’d probably choose to be a bee because I love being part of a team, visiting flowers all day sounds dreamy and flying would just be amazing!
BORP: What are you passionate about?
Ariel: When I started teaching middle school PE the classes were broken into two: I taught the girls, the male teacher taught the boys. This didn’t really make sense for these kids and I proposed we create a cooperative and a competitive group into which kids could self-select. It was perfect! I taught the cooperative group and my passion for supporting the under-dog took flight. I’m also a big fan of waste reduction and compost bins.
BORP: What are you most excited about in your new position as BORP’s Fitness Studio Coordinator?
Ariel: I’m excited to try out some new ideas, to learn what types of classes would draw in new participants (tell me!) and to strengthen and support the already great class offerings we have- we have some fanTASTIC teachers! My pie-in-the-ski right now is to create a scholarship fund so that our classes can be affordable for even more people. Working at the Cycling Center the last 12 months has been really awesome- we have the world’s largest collection of adapted cycles, by a factor of FOUR! I feel well situated, knowing that program so well and coming into this new one at the Fitness Studio. We may have a ways to go before we have a superlative like that to brag about but I’m stoked to keep building on the work done before me at the Fitness Studio, by teachers and coordinators alike, to keep our door open, broaden what we have to offer and make it accessible to more people.
BORP: What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?
Ariel: I’m a whiz at parallel parking and I have *great* parking karma 🙂
The US Power Soccer Association (USPSA) hosted the 2018 MK Battery Conference Cup Series, a national power soccer tournament, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, June 28 through July 1. The BORP power soccer program sent two teams to the tournament: The Crushers and the Shockers. The tournament was held at the Turnstone Center which is a beautiful Paralympic certified training facility. Thirty-five teams from four different divisions participated in this week-long event. It was the first time all the teams were able to compete and be under the same roof at the same time—that alone was awesome!
In order to accommodate all the teams, the Presidents and Founders Divisions (third and fourth divisions respectively) started a day before the Premier and Champions Divisions (first and second divisions respectively). The Shockers are in the Presidents Division and played three games on June 28, the first day of the tournament. Most of the players traveled the day before and with the three-hour time difference I believe that may have been a factor in their slow start to the tournament. The first two teams capitalized on some mistakes that we made early on and scored several goals each which proved too much for us to come back from. After a little pep talk, some coffee and a little fuel from lunch the Shockers came back and won their third game, finishing third in their pool of four teams.
The second day of the tournament began with another early morning start for the quarterfinals and the Shockers lost a close one but came back with a vengeance to win the next game, putting them in the fifth place game going into the third day of the tournament.
The Shockers started out a little slow in the first half of their final game on day three, which resulted in two quick goals for the opposition. With ten minutes left to go in the game we scored our first goal and kept putting more and more pressure on but just couldn’t break with the tying goal to send it to overtime. The Shockers finished in sixth place out of ten. One of the highlights for me was seeing the players transition from sleepy and passive, to the most tough and aggressive I have ever seen them play. Hopefully at our next tournament we will be able to start there from the beginning! Also, Ian Kinmont was nominated to the all-tournament team.
The BORP Crushers started their three-day stint on June 29. Luckily none of the games for each BORP team conflicted making me choose which team to coach. In their first game, the Crushers came out and scored a quick goal on a corner kick with Jake Bath sneaking the ball directly into the goal between the two defenders. The final score was 1-0.
The second day they played three games starting at 8:00 AM. In their first early-morning game they went down 0-1 in the first half but rallied to win the game 3-1 showing much resilience. They went on to go undefeated in pool play and getting a quarterfinal bye. The team was extremely excited about this especially because we had just moved up to this upper-level division after winning the lower level tournament last year. This also meant that on our first game on day three was at 11:00 instead of 8:00 AM, giving us much needed rest.
Many of the teams were confident that we would do well because we were playing an aggressive style of play by always playing our goalie up court and having them intricately involved with the flow of the game versus keeping them planted in the goal. We call this the four-up system, and none of the teams have ever seen it or played against it.
In the semifinal game despite our extra rest, we played a little sleepy and passive which the opposition took advantage of scoring two quick goals in the first five minutes. After that, we woke up and dominated possession and play throughout the rest of the game but were only able to score one more goal even though we had multiple chances. This put us in the third-place game where again we started out a little slow and came on in the end and lost 2-1 finishing in fourth place out of ten. After starting the tournament so great the players were a little disappointed with a fourth place finish with their eye on winning it all. But after being promoted from the lower division up to the Champions division with much more competitive teams, the result is very respectable as most teams struggle with the promotion. From the experience the team definitely learned a lot, identifying areas we need to work on for next year to take home the title. Also, Calum Cain was nominated to the all-tournament team.
Overall it was a great tournament for both teams. They played hard, progressed and developed a lot, both individually and as a team, and learned a lot about how to deal with the agony of defeat. I’m proud of both teams and appreciate everyone’s hard work. including the parents, volunteers, and personal care attendants who help make the journey and experience as seamless and enjoyable for the athletes. We’re looking forward to next year and continued improvement. The BORP power soccer program would especially like to thank all the people who donated and assisted in the fundraising with the poker fundraiser to make it possible for us to attend. We are already looking forward to next year!
News and events from the fitness studio covering May/mid June
Hatha Foundations for Teachers w/ Kelly Noah
This class will be offered in the BORP fitness studio Thursdays and Fridays 9-10 am from June 14th until the end of July.
Kelly Noah received her 200 and 300-hour yoga teacher training from Piedmont Yoga Studio from 2016-2018. She teaches and practices Hatha yoga with an emphasis on easeful movement, strengthening postures, and meditation. Kelly believes that yoga offers a unique opportunity to increase easeful body movement and deeply connect with oneself at the same time. In addition to Piedmont Yoga’s Deep Healing, Spiritual Justice, and Nature as Teacher training, Kelly has also taken the Prison Yoga Project training, The Art of Yoga Project training, and Leslie Howard’s Pelvic Floor training. Kelly is also an avid swimmer and swim coach, and when she is not at the pool or on the mat, she enjoys dancing and cooking.
Class description: Exploring the basic postures and breathing techniques used in Hatha Yoga, this class encourages gentle opening of the body and increased mind-body awareness. Using a combination of easeful movement, strengthening postures, and meditation, this class moves at a slow pace and is well-suited for beginners as well as seasoned practitioners looking to slow down.
-Women’s Self Defense workshop is being offered on Saturday, June 9th in the fitness center studio from 11-5 pm. This class is being offered by BORP fitness studio Tai Chi instructor, Hursey Baker. (Fees apply) For more info, contact email@example.com
Body Positive Yoga Flow w/ Julia Fogelson
This class will be offered in the BORP fitness studio Wednesdays, 7- 8 pm
Class description: Body Positive Yoga Flow is a Vinyasa style yoga class suitable for all levels. Class will focus on linking conscious breath with a mindful flow. Class will begin slow, build up to a vigorous standing sequence, and cool down with relaxing floor movements. Students can expect to build strength, flexibility and concentration while heating the body and calming the mind. Modifications will be provided to make poses accessible for all levels.
Nothing To Lose But Aches & The Blues w/ Nancy Yates
Next session is June 16th 3:30-5:30 pm in the fitness studio
This workshop is for everyone including blind, low-vision, disabled, and veteran participants. All are invited. We will do gentle stretching, breath instruction, easeful movements, restoration & meditation. The workshop is offered every 3rd Saturday of the month, Donation/ Fee $20. Delicious healthy snacks provided.
Questions? call Nancy at 415-346-8119.
Board the sleek new SMART train and discover Sonoma County without having to deal with traffic or parking. This new passenger service between San Rafael and Santa Rosa–eventually extending to Cloverdale, offers a smooth, quiet ride and some pastoral scenery. Passengers in wheelchairs can board any car via a sloped entry and there’s even an accessible bathroom on board. On the downside, the 2 wheelchair spaces in each car do not have windows, the small fold-down tables are pretty useless, and there is no companion seating.
For a nice day trip, board the train in downtown San Rafael and disembark in either Downtown Petaluma or Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. Within easy walking distance at both destinations you’ll find shopping in preserved old buildings that house a mix of boutiques, antique shops, specialty stores, and restaurants. From the East Bay, it’s possible to take public transit the entire way by taking BART to the Del Norte station, then board the 40 westbound bus to the San Rafael Transit Center where you catch the SMART train. Visit their website for schedules and fares.