Home » Setting a “goal”; Barber spreads awareness about goalball

Setting a “goal”; Barber spreads awareness about goalball

When Jaron Barber was 10 years old, he first attended Camp Abilities in Saratoga – a camp run by the Lions Club. At Camp Abilities, Barber first learned about goalball. Goalball is a sport exclusive to athletes with visual impairments, played by both men and women. Played in a gym court, the objective of the game is to throw the ball using a bowling motion into the opponent’s net while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies.

Barber fell in love with goalball and has been attending Camp Abilities and many other camps ever since.

Barber, now 16 years old, has big aspirations for a sport that is continuing to grow.

“Within the past two years, the sport has blown up in my life,” said Barber.

The Northeastern Association of the Blind (NABA) created a program for visually impaired individuals in the northeastern U.S. to play goalball at the Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Albany. Barber frequently visits CBA to play the sport.

In April, NABA connected Barber to an Envision Blind Sports clinic in Pennsylvania. At the clinic, Barber met Keith Young, head coach of the men’s Paralympic goalball team, and Calahan Young, the Paralympic team captain.

Jaron Barber with coach Keith Young
Jaron with coach Keith Young

In June, Envision hosted another camp, this time at Penn State. At the camp, Barber met a group of players who he stayed in touch with. The players decided to formally become a team and compete in the National Goalball Championship at the Texas School for the Blind in Austin, TX. Barber competed against players from around the country and his team was the only team who was not mercied on the first day of the tournament, which featured more than 15 teams.

Barber hopes to keep the team together to compete in Youth Nationals in 2024 in St. Augustine, FL.

In addition to clinics and tournaments throughout the country, Barber is spreading awareness about goalball right here at CCS.

“I had an informational meeting with students and we held a practice where students could learn about the sport, the ball and the rules. We haven’t played a game yet, but we will soon.”

Jaron with his goalball team at the 2023 National Championships
Jaron with his goalball team at the 2023 National Championship

Barber is hosting goalball once a week after school for students. He hopes to host a faculty tournament this spring.

“It has been fun to teach other students about this eye opening sport. Goalball has become a huge part of my life and it is great to share this sport with my friends and fellow students.”

Barber’s ultimate goal is to compete in the 2028 Summer Paralympics in Los Angeles.

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