Jaffray’s Orr will hit the court for Canada

A disabling accident hasn’t stopped an avid volleyballer from taking her game to the next level

Shacarra Orr is pictured in actin at a Team Canada Sitting Volleyball tryout camp in Edmonton earlier this  year.

Shacarra Orr is pictured in actin at a Team Canada Sitting Volleyball tryout camp in Edmonton earlier this year.

When one door closes, another one sometimes opens. That is certainly true for a young Jaffray athlete, who will soon be competing on the world stage for Team Canada.

On October 1, 2011, Shacarra Orr was in a motor vehicle accident on her way to an volleyball tournament. The accident ended up leaving her with a permanent loss of mobility in her right arm.

With much hard work and physiotherapy, Orr has since learned how to compensate for her bent arm, and adjusted to doing the skills left-handed.

Orr was and is an avid volleyballer, playing on both club and school teams. After the accident, she took to coaching. “I got back into that way, just in case I never played again,” she said. “As soon as I was out of cast and okay to start practicing I started again.”

Earlier this year, while on a trip in Edmonton with her club volleyball team, another coach approached Orr and asked if she would be interested in trying out for Team Canada’s Sitting Volleyball team.

“I was at a club tournament, and one of the guys — one of the Sitting Volleyball team coaches — also coaches a club team. So that’s when he noticed I had a disability, just watching me play, how some of my movements were limited. He invited me to the (Team Canada Sitting Volleyball Team) tryouts, which were taking place a few weeks later.”

Initially, Orr was not sure what sitting volleyball was but after checking it out on youtube she knew she was interested.

In sitting volleyball, a 0.8 metre-wide net is set at 1.15 metres high for men and 1.05 metres high for women. The court is 10 by six metres with a two-metre attack line. The rules are basically the same as regular volleyball.  It is a sport for athletes with disabilities, though there are no athlete classifications by disability.

“The net is lower, the court is a bit smaller,” Orr said. “But in standing volleyball you can just run to the ball. In sitting, the movements to get to the ball are way harder. We spend way more time on movement.”

According to the rules, players must have at least part of their bottoms on the ground at all times, or be on their stomachs.

In May of this year Orr went to Edmonton for four days of training and tryouts for Canada’s National Sitting Volleyball Team. She said she was amazed at how hard the sport was. It took a lot of upper body and core strength and leg strength — the latter because one pushes off with one’s legs.

“It was expecially hard for me, because I’m actually right-handed. But because of my injuries I have to play left-handed,” she said. “So my natural footwork is the right-handed footwork, but I’ve had to change everything. It was definitely strange, and a little bit awkward, because I’m not as strong on that side. But the girls are really supportive, they help me learn different ways and different movements.”

On her last day of the tryout camp, Orr was offered a spot on the competitive team.

She went to Vancouver for 10 days at the beginning of the summer, and is off again next week. The team is scheduled to practice roughly once a month, and Orr can already see the team chemistry developing.

“I think from this we’re going to be longtime friends. Every girl is so unique, and I think our stories bond us together.”

Team Canada 2013 hasn’t had any competition yet. “They usually have a few competitions in the U.S., but  it’s such a new sport, and in Canada we’re still looking for new people.

“We were supposed to go to Oklahoma in October, but one of our girls had to have surgery, and we had to withdraw because we didn’t have enough people.”

The ultimate immediate goal, of course, is the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil. Sitting Volleyball was introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1980 as a men’s sport, and later as a women’s sport at the Athens Paralympics in 2004. At the London 2012 Games, 198 athletes competed in the sport.

Orr says she feels  privileged to be able to represent her country. And more than that, the opportunity shows that when life gives you an unexpected challenge don’t dwell on what you used to be able to do, but focus on what you can do.

“One of my goals is to try to get people around our area who have disabilities, to really take a look at what’s out there for them,” she said. “Even myself, I didn’t know that there were these possibilities. And talking to the other girls, who play other paralympic sports, it’s great what’s out there for everyone.”

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Supporters — and shoppers — lined up waiting at the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South, waiting for the doors to open on the store's first day of operations since the pandemic forced its closure. (Photo courtesy Kate Fox)
CHCA Thrift Store re-opens in Cranbrook

After a closure of 15 months, due to the pandemic, the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store on 8th Avenue South has once again opened its doors for business.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read