Martorell, 3/12/2015. – It’s 9 in the morning and we meet up with Miguel Ángel (“Micky”) at his home in Navarcles to spend some time with him and get a first-hand look at the special relation he has with sailing, his favourite sport, as well as his SEAT Alhambra. When we arrive, Micky is busy loading up his car with all his gear – sailing apparel, sails and his wheelchair as well; he suffered a spinal cord injury several years ago that impedes him from walking.
Micky advocates for an active lifestyle in which sport plays a decisive role as a tool for fostering physical and mental growth. He tells us he began sailing almost by chance, but that when he gave it a try “everything changed”. He uses his car to get to where he wants to go sailing, and defines it as a necessary tool for freedom and independence: “my wheelchair and my car are the two tools I use to make up for my lack of mobility. I use the chair for short distances and it’s like a part of me, but when I drive, my car becomes my legs”, he says while getting into his SEAT Alhambra to head out to the L´Escala Yacht Club where he’s been a member for several years.
While we speak he makes it clear that it’s essential for disabled people to practice some kind of sport; not only to stay in shape, says Micky, but also because “sport helps you cope with everyday life. It helps you better yourself and face the challenges life throws at you”, he explains as he handles himself in his wheelchair with striking agility. In order to pursue his passion, Micky found everything he wanted in the SEAT Alhambra, a vehicle that clearly gets him around safely: “this car makes you feel free and gives great peace of mind. I know I can rely on it to get me all the way across the country, even by myself, with all my sailing gear; or go on a weekend trip with my wife knowing that the other tool I need to get around besides my wheelchair won’t let me down”.
While we make our way to Girona we ask Micky about the car’s adaptations and he tells us that they’re very subtle, and that’s another thing he likes so much about the SEAT Alhambra, that the hand controls for driving are so discreet. We watch him drive comfortably and confidently and see for ourselves that his car and his wheelchair really are his legs. We continue on our journey talking about sailing and the feeling you get when in the water: “the first time I tried it was a bit daunting because when you leave the chair behind it’s a bit like losing your legs. But you soon get the hang of it and the feeling of freedom you get in the middle of nature is hard to put into words”.
Outside the harbour at L´Escala there’s a strong swell. The uninitiated would soon abandon the idea of taking to the water, but Micky doesn’t waver. He leaves his chair behind and sets sail but not before leaving us with a final thought before heading into the waves: “Sailing and driving are two very similar feelings of freedom. One gives you independene and freedom on the water, and the other on the road”.