Who is that handsome, Greek gentleman shooting at the free throw line? Why is he sitting down? Is he just that good at shooting a basketball? Or is he playing a different kind of basketball?
I am the handsome, Greek gentleman. I am sitting down, not because I am shooting a trick shot (although I can hit quite a few), but because that is how I play the game of basketball.
I play wheelchair basketball. I have been playing this great game since the summer of 2007. It’s fast-paced, loud, strategic, and there’s a lot of physicality involved in every game. Additionally, it has taught me the importance of being ambitious and pursuing my goals — both on and off the court.
Wheelchair basketball is one of the more popular adaptive sports to be featured in the United States of America. I have played demo games at UNC, the PNC Arena, and even at my local university, William Peace.
Be that as it may, it does not get the recognition it deserves from colleges and universities. One blog written by GRIT, a blog that promotes adaptive sports, shows that, out of the multitudes of colleges and universities in the United States of America, only twenty-one universities have adaptive sports programs (http://www.gogrit.us/news/2015/12/14/the-complete-guide-to-collegiate-adaptive-sports.).
According to an article written by the Director of Sport and High Performance for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Dan Humphreys, only eight of the twenty-one colleges play for the NWBA (http://www.disabledsportsusa.org/sport/basketball/.).
I personally believe that the lack of popularity wheelchair basketball gets is not from the players, but rather the audience (or lack thereof). Whenever I finished a demo or a tournament at UNC or the PNC Arena, I would inevitably meet an individual who would say, “It’s great what you’re doing for yourself.” That kind of attitude from a member of the audience is not only insulting to those who play wheelchair basketball, but it also is what contributes to the lack of expansion of adaptive sports in universities in America.
The purpose of this blog is to show people — both able-bodied and disabled — how to play the game of wheelchair basketball, along with sharing some of its rules and regulations (and my personal beliefs on some of them). Moreover, the blog will cover fan etiquette during and after a wheelchair basketball game. Ultimately, I want to change the minds of those few individuals that go “Aw,” every time I shoot, to “Wow!”
What would you like to know about wheelchair basketball or adaptive sports in general? Leave a comment, if you have any questions or suggestions.