Written By: Chris Perotte

In previous articles, I’ve explained the roots of the word Invctus and in Latin, Invictus means ‘undefeated or unconquered’. The brave men and women who fight throughout the world for our rights and freedom face new challenges in their lives upon returning home, as they adjust to a new way of being.

We’ve also discussed that the name Invictus was inspired by Prince Harry from the “Invictus” poem written by William Ernest Henley:

“Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.”

Since 2014, The Invictus Games, is a way for our wounded soldiers to cope with their trauma, to find solace and purpose within a community of others who are also adjusting to their present situation. To know that they are not alone in their struggle.

This is what the Invictus Games meant to Chris Klodt. Thirty-five-year-old Klodt, a resident of Flamborough, Ontario, played the defense position for Team Canada’s Wheelchair Rugby team in his first ever Invictus Games that took place in Toronto from September 23-30.  

Since 2009, Klodt has been playing wheelchair rugby for the London Annihilators. With the Annihilators, he has had the opportunity to travel from Florida to Las Vegas in the US, and from Montreal to Vancouver in Canada to participate in wheelchair rugby tournaments.

Klodt served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 13 years with the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry. For Klodt, the Invictus Game are important not only to remain in touch with comrades, but to let fellow officers that they are remaining active and doing well.

Being able to participate in wheelchair rugby, and representing his country, gave Chris many memorable moments that he will cherish. One particular memory of the games stands out:

“I was lucky enough to play in the celebrity rugby game and my kids (boys 7&10) gave the winning team (my team) the trophy,” shares Klodt.

“I couldn’t stop smiling. Winning is always sweet, but having the boys be a part of it made it that much better,” says Klodt. “It was as close to cloud nine as it gets on this earth.”

Overall, Klodt’s family was thrilled at the opportunities they received to watch their father, son and husband play the game of rugby that he’s loved since he was 22 years old. Klodt’s family were also very supportive throughout his physical recovery, so watching him play meant that much more to them.

Being a part of The Invictus Games in Toronto was for Klodt an absolutely incredible experience, and far beyond what he was expecting. He was amazed by the number of supporters that showed up to support the Invictus Games.  Everyone he encountered was very positive and uplifting. The overall support was amazing in his eyes. Throughout his entire Invictus Games experience in Toronto, there is one thing he will never forget:

“I will never forget my teammates from the games,” Klodt shares. “They are an amazing group of people and I wish them the best in their future endeavours.”

Rugby has the characteristic of a family-like atmosphere for players, coaches and supporters both on and off the playing field. On the grand stage of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, the wheelchair rugby event was just a small sampling of the overall comradery between soldiers,  volunteers, coaching staff, and all those who contributed to the positive and unforgettable experience of the games.

When the Invictus Games in Sydney comes around next year, Klodt hopes to be one of the individuals selected to represent Team Canada. For now, he will just have to wait and see what happens.

In the words of the “Invictus” poem:

“I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.”

 

To be continued: The Warriors of Wheelchair Rugby……

 

 

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