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Michael Atkins (left) and Miles Hill (right) playing a competitive game of one-on-one.

The main goal of this blog, as I have stated before in previous posts, is to educate people to not regard individuals with disabilities as charity cases; rather, treat them as regular individuals.

That’s why wheelchair basketball (and many other adaptive sports) exists. One of the most effective ways adaptive sports athletes attain this goal is through a little event called a “demo.”

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “demo” is short for the word “demonstration.” Nonprofit organizations like Bridge II Sports (BIIS) perform demos all throughout the year. In fact, they hold annual events such as Valor Games Southeast and August Madness. Both of these events have the aforementioned goal in mind.

I have had the privilege and honor to participate in some of BIIS’ demo events over the years. I have also participated in pickup games during the halftime shows at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Having participated in these demos over the past few years, I began to take initiative and create a wheelchair basketball demo at my local college, William Peace University.

Peace hosted the demo last year and, with the help of the Disability Support Services’ Coordinator, Nicole Davis, I was able to setup a pickup game at the college’s gym with some of my teammates, classmates, student athletes, faculty and staff, and the President of William Peace, Dr. Brian Ralph.

After the game, I was able to talk with some of the people who played, and they said that they didn’t know how much effort goes into playing wheelchair basketball. They gained an appreciation for the game, and they gained a new found respect for those with disabilities.

Moreover, I talked with Ms. Davis after the game, and she said to me that they wanted to make the wheelchair basketball demo an annual event.

This touched me deeply because I knew that at this moment I had achieved the goal I worked so hard to achieve; through this demo, I had made able-bodied people at Peace realize that those with disabilities are just as human as they are.

I want to thank everyone at BIIS for instilling within me the goal to show people how individuals with disabilities should be regarded and treated as any other human being, and I want to thank everyone at Peace for giving me the opportunity to attain that goal. I am eternally grateful to both of them.

But I won’t stop here. I will endeavor to create an annual demo event when I go to graduate school at NC State.

 

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