Camilla (USA)

‘What the competitors are doing here is really helping them with their mind and their body’

Because of all the school she would be missing, she initially did not plan on going to The Hague. Then she realized it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. When her sister’s work prevented her from making the trip, Camilla decided to join her mother and fly from Iowa to The Netherlands. Camilla’s father is competing in the Invictus Games. “The energy from all the teams is amazing, it is so much fun to be here’’, she says. She looks around to point at the Friends and Family of Team France, team US’ opponents at the Wheelchair Rugby that afternoon. They wave back at her.

She continues: “There is no drama at all. Everyone is having fun with everyone, there is no bad blood between anyone.” She pauses for a bit and looks around. “Everyone is supporting everyone, no matter what team they’re on.” This is something that Andrew Holliday, another athlete of Team US who just watched the match, and his girlfriend confirm: “These are my first Invictus Games. And seeing the camaraderie is amazing. Seeing all the countries wrapping their arms around each other, regardless the outcome, just supporting each other. That is probably my favorite part.”

Being here also brings Camilla in contact with other children of veterans. Even though she did not specifically realize it before, she appreciates that. “It is actually really nice, getting to know all these people from around the world. I’m from Iowa, I know no one like that over there. Right now, here, I’m meeting hundreds and hundreds of new people every day. That is something that will never happen again.”

She also sees an added value of the Invictus Games for people with no military connections. “Being here shows the mental and the physical part of everything. People can see how the competitors’ lives have changed. Being able to play the sports they want to play and may not have been able to do before is so great for them. It really helps them with their mind and their body.”