UNCLE SAM’S HIGHLANDERS
A Team of Adaptive and Traditional Athletes from Around the World
Some say it takes bravery to meet British Royalty. After all, there’s quite a bit of ceremony that goes into such a meeting. But you’ll pardon Alex “the Tank” Armor and the rest of the Uncle Sam’s Highlanders crew if on their recent trip to Scotland, a meeting with a Prince wasn’t among their bravest or most notable accomplishments.
In August, Alex and the Uncle Sam’s Highlanders, a team of adaptive athletes from around the United States, made their way to John O’Groats Scotland to compete at the Castle Mey Highland and Cultural Games where Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, serves as the Chieftain. But this wasn’t just another group making the pilgrimage to compete among the birthplaces of the Highland Games. This was the first group of US Highland Athletes – let alone adaptive athletes – ever invited to the games since the games achieved their official accreditation.
As over 5,000 spectators looked on, the athletes competed in events all the while proudly sporting their USA Sport Kilts. And while results are important, perhaps the most important result is that they made it to Scotland at all. Adaptive athletes require resources and staff and with with eight participants that meant 22 people in total to ensure safety and support. That’s what led “The Tank” and his crew to their ultimate success.
Insights gathered from prep for the Scotland Mission gave rise to an idea for a nonprofit that helps adaptive athletes in Highland Athletics and other sports get to games, have access to training advice, and to help them deal with the special issues adaptive athletes face.
“We’re all about promoting the Ability in Disability,” said Armor. “Adaptive folks don’t let their disabilities define them. Sure, there are challenges in everything from participating in events to social settings. All can be difficult. But we are a Brotherhood and Sisterhood that comes together to support each other and do what we love, and that is true Bravery.”
If you’d like to support Uncle Sam’s Highlanders, please visit unclesamshighlanders.org.