One U.S. team in Beijing came into these Games with all the pressure in the world on them to succeed after an embarrassing bronze medal in a sport the United States normally dominates. Yes, they laid the wood to the Chinese team in their first match, but they have a long way to go towards the mythical redemption we lay at their feet. We speak, of course, of the U.S. wheelchair rugby team at these 2008 Paralympic Games. Or, as you might know them better, the Murderball team. After taking home a disappointing bronze in the 2004 Paralympic Games, Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro joined forces to tell that story in Murderball, a crushing hit on the documentary circuit that forced four heartbreaking stories about young people trying to come to grips with their sexuality in a small town clear out of the competition and tumbling into the night, screaming for help. Yeah, even their documentary kicks more ass than yours. As a reminder, these fellows were badasses before their accidents. Consider how one of them ended up in a wheelchair to start with:
Zupan was paralyzed in 1993 when he fell out of the back of a pick-up truck, a crash that sent him sprawling into a canal where he spent 14 hours clinging to a tree branch to save his life.
To give you a comparison, we couldn't make it through a blogging day at Deadspin without a nap. While you can watch the Paralympics online (and we totally recommend it), you can whet your appetite with a crawl through YouTube with the search term "wheelchair rugby". We'll see you back in an hour or so. We understand.