Andrew Reeves of Durham hopes to get an introduction to as many sports as he can when the Valor Games Southeast competition takes place Tuesday through Thursday at Triangle venues.
Reeves will compete in air rifle, archery, cycling, indoor rowing and sitting volleyball at the fourth annual adaptive sports event conducted by Durham nonprofit Bridge II Sports for disabled veterans and active military.
Archery proves relaxing, but “I’m thinking more than archery, I think the air rifle is something that is going to fuel my competitive nature,” said Reeves, 52, a Navy veteran who also anticipates doing well in rowing.
Reeves will be among more than 100 competitors from North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and elsewhere for events at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University in Durham and Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville.
Athletes are being coached by volunteers and Bridge II Sports staff, including programs coordinator Michael Atkins of Raleigh.
“Anybody can come and cheer them on. We have lots of spectators … on the college campuses,” said Atkins, 53, a longtime wheelchair basketball player and youth coach who joined the staff full-time two years ago.
Valor Games Southeast will feature nine sports – others are boccia, powerlifting, table tennis and shot put – and competitors have varied experience. Though new to the Games, Reeves has seen the dedication of experienced competitors as he has practiced to be “game ready.”
“If you’re going to compete, you’ve got to push yourself. I’m looking forward to this one and more to come,” said Reeves, who retired in 2011 after six years in the Army National Guard followed by 20 years of active duty in the Navy.
A lifelong athlete born in Alabama and raised in Boston, Reeves has hip and knee problems and a traumatic brain injury but considers his discomforts minor compared with other vets’ injuries.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “I count my blessings every day.”
VALOR GAMES SOUTHEAST
What: Event 1 in a series of four introductory and intermediate adaptive sports competitions for disabled veterans and Armed Forces members
Where: Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill
Spectator admission: Free
May 23 – Check-in, opening ceremony (not open to public)
May 24 – air rifle, sitting volleyball, boccia, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Dean Smith Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
May 25 – archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, table tennis, *wheelchair basketball, 8:30-3, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke University, Durham
May 26 – cycling, shot put, *archery, 8:15-noon, Lake Crabtree County Park, Raleigh
*not a competition event
Learn more: Bridge II Sports 866-880-2742, www.bridge2sports.org/valor-games-southeast