VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — "He's worked very hard to get where he is. He just doesn't consider the handicap, the only one that does are people around him. He's been that way since before he could walk so he's just used to it. He's come a long way, when he was younger he wasn't much of an athlete but he's turned into one."
James Wallace is Christian King's grandfather. He reiterates what becomes abundantly clear within minutes of meeting King, he doesn't let his impaired vision slow him down.
"Nobody's perfect, everybody has those bad days. Everybody has those times where they ask themselves "Can I really do this? Can I really accomplish this," King doesn't deny the tough times, he merely doesn't let them stop him. "On those really bad days I look back at all that I've accomplished so far, and I look back on all the time I have left, and how much potential there is out there for me to succeed, and that's really what drives me."
That drive, that perseverance, have led Christian all the way to Brazil as a member of the United States Goalball team. A game for the visually impaired, all players wear blindfolds when on the court. Goalball is a Paralympic sport, the next set of games is Paris 2024, that is where King and his team hope to be.
The first step is this week's IBSA Goalball America's Championships. Reaching the semifinals of the tournament will qualify King's USA team for a trip to China for the World Championships, where they can then qualify for the Olympic Games.
Christian's grandfather will join him this week in Brazil. After taking on the responsibility of bringing Christian to and from Goalball games and practices, eventually he took an open coaching job on the team. The game has brought them closer to each other, and closer to conquering the world together. After all, there's nothing Christian King can't do, impairment or not.