Last weekend we found out about a local wheelchair basketball tournament in an interesting way. My mom and I were having dinner out, and we noticed a table of people who were mostly in wheelchairs. We were leaving at the same time as this group and because I was curious (and nosy), I asked one of the people if they were part of a team. Lo and behold, they were the Atlanta Wolfpack Wheelchair Basketball Team and were here for a tournament.
We knew the kids would love going so we made it to a couple of games the next day. We saw the Carolina Tarwheels beat the Atlanta Wolfpack, and then Atlanta played the Fayetteville Flyers. We missed our home team, Charlotte Rollin' Bobcats play.
One of the Tarwheels players thanked us for coming and explained the rules of the game. We learned that there is a classification system and each athlete is given a specific number based on their injury or disability. For example, an amputee who has use of their abdominal muscles and a larger range of motion will be assigned a higher number. A person with a spinal cord injury will have a lower number based on how high their paralysis affects them.
In order to balance the teams, the total number any team may have is 12. This number is achieved by adding up the individual athlete's classification number.
The game was fast paced, rough and tense, and we had free front row seats to it all. At least 3 times, we saw wheelchairs topple over, usually because the player was aggressive. Once we realized it was a normal occurrence and usually caused by the player himself, it was not quite as alarming.
Ben was interested in the game the entire time, as long as we kept a constant flow of food and drink into his belly. (I think he is going through a growth spurt.) Being on the gym floor made it very exciting. Balls came at us, players barely missed us and refs asked the boys if they wanted to throw the ball in.
These teams play 50-60 games a year and I am sure we will catch another one soon!