World T.E.A.M. Sports 2016 Annual Review World T.E.A.M. Sports Annual Report 2016 - Page 24

ADVENTURE NY | DC | CO ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT PARTICIPANTS NY ATHLETES: 29 | NY VOLUNTEERS: 15 | DC ATHLETES: 23 | DC VOLUNTEERS: 19 | CO ATHLETES: 56 | CO VOLUNTEERS: 21 ZACH BASTAIN ATHLETE ATC Colorado 2015-2016 TEAM CHALLENGE Newport, Rhode Island athlete Zack Bastain regained his love of outdoor sports through surfing after an accident left him a paraplegic at age 16. Documented in the 2013 film “Endless Abilities,” Zack confronted his physical disability in a journey west to surf the Pacific Ocean. In 2015, Zack and his friends agreed to compete in Colorado’s Adventure Team Challenge. Unfortunately, a last-minute injury sidelined him, but he was determined to return in 2016 after watching his team’s enthusiasm. CREATING TEAMWORK THROUGH ADVERSITY After getting into shape and competing in two marathons, Zack was ready. On the very first day of the 2016 Challenge, he took a tumble with his hand cycle down into a rushing stream – the bike was washed away, but quick action by his teammates pulled him to safety. The following days, flat tires on bikes, athlete muscle cramps, and becoming hopelessly lost dashed any hopes of winning. “We knew we were the slowest team, and we decided to just take it all in, lose the pressure to ‘win’ and just enjoy the experience,” recalled Zack. “That’s when we really started gelling and getting into a groove—when we let go of expectations and just enjoyed the ride.” Although they finished last, they gained respect for themselves and now serve as a role model to future teams to not give up, even when adversity makes life difficult. 20