Joe Delagrave Lives In Two Dream Worlds: Training For Rio And Raising His Kids

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 0:49 AM

S. wheelchair rugby team has found itself in an different spot just five months out from a Paralympic Games. It's yet to qualify, leaving an air of uncertainty.

Joe Delagrave Lives In Two Dream Worlds: Training For Rio And Raising His Kids

The U. S. wheelchair rugby team has found itself in an different spot just five months out from a Paralympic Games.

It's yet to qualify, leaving an air of uncertainty.

Having failed to stamp its ticket to the Rio two thousand sixteen Games thus far, the U. S. team will start play in the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Paralympic Qualifier Tournament on Monday in Paris, where the top two finishers among the six participating countries will book the final two spots in Sept’s Paralympic tournament.

For the veterans on the U. S. team, the only way they’ve known to qualify for the Paralympic Games is by winning world championship gold; such was the case leading up to the Beijing two thousand eight and London two thousand twelve Games.

But in two thousand-fourteenth, the country that’s historically been the most successful in international wheelchair rugby fell brief of a third consecutive world title. Instead, Team UNITED STATES OF AMERICA left with the bronze, its lowest finish at a world championship since the tournament began in 1995.

Team UNITED STATES OF AMERICA faced another setback latest August, failing at another chance at Rio two thousand sixteen qualification when it narrowly lost to Canada in the gold-medal contest at the Parapan American Games in Toronto.

The tournament in Paris is presently its last chance.

“It’s a brand new type of spot for us to be in, but at the same time, we’ve also taken a enormous step forward in Oct by beating (reigning world champions) Australia,” said Paralympic bronze medalist and Joe Delagrave.

“After losses love that in Toronto, you've to discover the silver lining, because there’s nothing else to do. I think it’s one of those things where the U. S. has always had success, but at the same time the players that are here now, including myself, we've to earn that success on the Ct and beat Canada and beat any team that we play.”

While world No. one Canada — having already qualified for the Paralympic Games — won’t be in Paris, the U. S. team will still face five feisty squads in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and New Zealand.

The United States is historically the most successful wheelchair rugby team in the world, having won medals in all four Paralympic tournaments it's competed in, including two golds.

Presently No. two in the IWRF world rankings — five spots ahead of Denmark, its toughest contest at the Qualification Tournament — the U. S. team is hoping the depth it's always been known for comes to fruition in Paris.

“Being the No. two team in the world speaks for itself,” Delagrave said. “But I still perceive love we necessity to arrive together as a team, and this is the perfect tournament to do so. We don’t get any other teams for granted or get anyone lightly.

“In two thousand twelve, every player on that team from one to twelve was extremely experienced and had been playing for a few years. I was more of a rookie on that team. With this team, we've some newer guys who refuge’t had as much experience, but at the same time all the guys are hungry for success and can add to our team as a whole.”

Not only is Delagrave considered a veteran on the team this time around, but he presently also has three youthful children back residence in Phoenix.

The former Winona State college football player and his wife, April, are constantly active chasing around their two boys, 4-year-old Braxton and 2-year-old Brayden, and their new 6-month-old baby girl, Brynley.

But it allows Delagrave, one of five children himself, to live in two dream worlds at once. Some days, he brings his two boys to the gym to work out with him or look him train for Rio, and other days he sits with them at residence watching the “Rio” animated movie.

“It’s totally different dealing with grown men than toddlers, but it’s definitely taught me patience,” Delagrave said. “It’s definitely apples and oranges, and that’s the kind thing about it. I do have my family, my wife and three kids, and they’re my No. one priority. But it’s kind to go to rugby camps and tournaments and know that it’s a family atmosphere, too.”

Delagrave said his teammates have helped him become a better father, including Chuck Melton, Adam Scaturro and Rob Deller, who have three teenagers, a 10-year-old son and two step children, respectively.

And slowly, his oldest, Braxton, is starting to realize what he does for a living.

“Braxton will see at an American flag and declare ‘Oh, a rugby flag,’ because he sees the flag on all of my uniforms and shirts,” Delagrave chuckled. “But I've to tell him, ‘No, that’s actually the American flag.’”

Either way, Delagrave is hoping the red, white and blue are raised in the rafters in Paris.

And ideally, in Rio, too.



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