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Tiro en Braille’s opening tournament

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Tiro en Braille’s first, opening tournament was scheduled for the last week of April in 2020. However, Covid-19 changed most world events dramatically. As a result of uncertainty, Tiro en Braille had a few tentative dates for the rescheduling of the opening tournament. Finally, it was officially declared that as of March 14, 2022, Universidad de Guanajuato (UG) would restart in a face-to-face format all its academic activities after more than two years of conducting online/virtual activities.

With very little time for preparation, Tiro en Braille’s opening tournament was finally scheduled during tow weekends (May 13 and 14 (the group stage) and May 20 and 21st (semifinals and the championship game). Eight teams signed up for the tournament. Each team enrolled 8 to 10 players. Four teams came from the visiting institution, i.e., the Benemérita y Centenaria Escuela Normal Oficial de Guanajuato, three teams from the host institution (Universidad de Guanajuato), and one team (composed 100% of players visually disabled) visited from diverse Guanajuato State’s municipalities.

Subscribing to the philosophy of Tiro en Braille (as an organization), and the three components (teaching/learning, research, and the implementation of a sporting activity designed by university students) under which the early stages of Tiro en Braille (as an emerging, alternative sporting activity) were thought, the event was not merely a sport tournament. Indeed, the inauguration event was a highly interactive keynote lecture by Fernando Segura Millán Trejo, in which a handful of SDP activities conducted elsewhere (the Street Foootball World Cup, the Homeless World Cup) were revisited. The goal was to inform participating players of similar experiences and the problems and/or possibilities they could be facing during the tournament. It is worth noting that oftentimes when problems/differences arose, we collectively went back to Fernando Segura’s keynote lecture to inform decisions. During the inauguration event, Daniel Añorve (academic leader of Tiro en Braille, as an organization) presented a recently published book (2021), Experiencias de deporte para el Desarrollo y la paz: claroscuros globales y locales, in which the students who designed Tiro en Braille (as an inclusive sport) published a chapter on their experience.

Tiro en Braille’s initial rules (informed prior to the tournament)

The original rules, proposed by the students who designed Tiro en Braille during the August-December Fall term of 2019 at Universidad de Guanajuato were posted into Tiro en Braille’s website. However, the rules contained there were overall rules, related more to the format of the game, rather than to the procedures and development of the game itself. The original rules stated that the field would be 8 meters long and 5 meters wide and that the protected area for each team would be 1 meter wide (8 meters long). Two training sessions were scheduled with registered players (except the all-blind team which was driven from the southern municipalities of Guanajuato State). Participating players confirmed that they understood the game’s format, e.g., that each half would consist of 10 minutes of play and there would be a 5-minute half-time recess between halves. Other than that, several participants questioned on how long possessions for each team would last and how blind-fold players would learn when their team lost possession of the ball. Since the game was never played before, rules and procedures had to be negotiated between the staff and the participating players. Unintendedly, this opened room for negotiations and input coming from all involved actors in the tournament. Several players showed confusion with this procedure, but many other felt “taken into account” and later, during the tournament they expressed their gratitude for being involved in all phases of decision-making. While it was actually the staff who decided (and who communicated) the procedures and the in-game rules to be followed (through emails sent four and two days prior to the tournament’s opening game), the rules and regulations were written based on the participants’ input during the two training sessions prior to the tournament inauguration.

In order to generate a “hustle and bustle” and a “sweat” activity, thought to combat sedentariness, possessions would not be endless. Indeed, possessions would last a maximum of 30 seconds. Since players would be blind fold, the referee would emit a short whistle 10 seconds into the possession; then, when 20 seconds had elapsed the referee would emit two short whistles. Then, after 28 second had elapsed, three short whistles would let players know that they had two second left before losing possession of the ball. A long whistle would communicate one of the following things: loss of ball possession, the ball was out of bounds (therefore, possession would turn to the rival team), the possession expired, the player with the ball’s possession stepped out of bounds. losing possession of the ball.

The aftermath of the tournament

Although not initially considered, the staff considered that besides the presentation of participation certificates for each team, five special certificates would be presented: 1) to the best female player of the tournament; 2) to the best male player of the tournament; 3) to the best female-disabled player of the tournament; 4) to the best male-disabled player of the tournament, and 5) to the best goal of the tournament. Players from all teams had the opportunity to vote for the five categories. It must be noted that the best players, except for the best male-disabled player, who also happened to earn the best goal of the tournament, were not the top scorers within their category. Some votes were accompanied by a brief explanation. Several votes mentioned that the vote reflected the sportsman’s conduct and/or the leadership exercised by the voted player. Indeed, the best male player was won by Emiliano, a lazarillo throughout the tournament.

The champion team and the runner-up team both won certificates to savor the desserts provided by the small-size local sponsor (Kurtosh). Both teams also won a medal, which was identical in color and size. The only differences between both teams were the certificates (with the words first place and second place) and the fact that the members of the championship teams were awarded a hat and a polo shirt from Universidad de Guanajuato.

The awards ceremony was held on May 24, 2022. On May 26, just two days later, the staff was contacted by DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia), institution that informed us that thanks to the wonderful experience the all-blind team enjoyed throughout the tournament, DIF would include Tiro en Braille as a permanent sporting activity within the regular sports’ activities offered by the institution.

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